The Queensland Opposition has today reaffirmed its commitment to restoring worker’s rights.
Member for Mulgrave and Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Newman Government’s industrial relations laws had fundamentally altered the framework of negotiations to remove enterprise bargaining as the core of Queensland’s industrial relations system.
“So-called ‘Award Modernisation’ is being used to attack local government workers across Queensland, including those who work for Councils here in Far North Queensland,” Mr Pitt said.
“They were introduced under the guise of ‘harmonisation’ with Labor’s federal Fair Work Act.
“In reality, all of the employee rights contained in the Fair Work Act are out, while all the requirements and productivity clauses are in.”
Mr Pitt said while the Fair Work Act had ‘no worse off’ protections in awarding pay and conditions to workers, those protections were not in the Queensland legislation, which expressly removes the ability of the independent umpire to award interim pay rises and prohibited the independent umpire from granting retrospective pay rises.
“If parties do manage to come to an agreement, the Industrial Relations Commission would be required to mandate productivity gains as a trade-off for any entitlements included in the agreement,” he said.
“None of this is ‘harmonisation’ with federal laws.
“These laws are being used to strip out things like penalty rates and erode conditions that had previously been included in enterprise bargaining agreements such as annual leave periods.
“The laws make it harder – near impossible – to bargain in good faith to maintain or expand many of the features of current EBAs.
“My message to local governments is simple; just because the LNP’s new laws make it possible to take away hard fought and win conditions, that doesn’t meant that Councils should take advantage of the situation.
“Campbell Newman is attacking the day-to-day conditions and take-home pay of hardworking Queenslanders.
“Labor believes that workers have the right to pursue the collective interests of their workplace – pure and simple.
“We will rip up the LNP’s laws and restore fairness to the system.”