Posted by Jim on July 19, 2010
The Coalition is just not believable on industrial relations, The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, said today.
“Until we hear statements from key Coalition figures, including the Leader of the Nationals, that they will promote collective bargaining in the workplace there will always be a fear that an Abbott Government will reintroduce their oppressive workplace laws.
“Tony Abbott had hardly finished telling the electorate that the Coalition’s policy on workplace relations was dead when Senator Eric Abetz said the Coalition will tinker with Labor’s Fair Work laws.”
He said the central plank of The Greens’ policy on workplace relations is for a fair and equitable industrial relations system for all workers.
“Our policy on employment and industrial relations states that Australia’s future workforce must be highly skilled, highly trained and well paid. The existence of a safety net and the right to collectively bargain are essential to achieving these aims.
“The prosperity of the region is dependent on families whose wage earners have secure employment and decent working conditions.
“But the Coalition have always promoted individual contracts as a central plank of their workplace ideology. In putting Workchoices in place they took away many of the rights workers should enjoy under international labour conventions. Tony Abbott and Eric Abetz were key Coalition Ministers driving that policy.
“One of those rights was workers’ access to collective bargaining. And the current member for Wide Bay actively supported isolating workers in individual contracts.
“But the Coalition adopted double standards on collective bargaining,” he said.
“As the Agriculture Minister in the Howard Government, Mr Truss supported legislation to give farmers and small businesses some clout in negotiation against the large retailers.
“These are exactly the same arguments supporting collective bargaining for workers in the workplace. But in supporting Workchoices, he denied workers easy access to that same right.
“What every worker in Wide Bay is entitled to know is whether Mr Truss now recognises the benefits of collective bargaining for workers as well as small businesses.”
Dr McDonald said that for years research in Australia and around the world had been available that demonstrated that collective bargaining systems produced a more productive workforce.
“Despite that evidence, the Howard Government ignored the benefits of collective bargaining for ideological reasons, putting up slippery ‘choices’ for the average worker under Workchoices.”by