Abbott government green-lights individual contracts

Australian unions are demanding that the Abbott Government drop any attempt to introduce individual contracts that will cut take-home pay.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said the Abbott Government has given employers the green light to cut people’s pay under the guise of greater ‘flexibility’.

“This is a blatant attempt to cut pay and conditions through individual contracts and shows the Abbott Government doesn’t understand the concerns of Australian workers,” she said.

“We know that the Liberal Party definition of flexibility has always been flexibility by workers not for workers and that’s exactly what we have seen again today.”

“Don’t be mistaken, this is an attempt to slash take-home pay and working conditions and despite all the pre-election promises, this is undoubtedly what is happening here,” she said.

“Workers and employers need flexibility but this is an extreme and hardline stance by the Abbott Government to say that a parent of a sick child should take a pay cut in order to look after their family.

“This is an unacceptable choice between workers earning enough to meet their living costs and their ability to look after their family.”

“Minister Abetz talks about imaginary workers that want to give up penalty rates for nothing. We’re yet to find a worker that thinks this is a good deal.”

Only yesterday new figures showed that Australia is experiencing the slowest wages growth on record while the cost of living is rising quickly, faster than wages.

“Australia is in the midst of a job security crisis, with thousands of workers losing their jobs and many others pushed into casual insecure work. That’s what the Abbott Government should be focused on, not on making life tougher for people.”

But day after day we keep seeing the Abbott Government trying to drive down wages at a time when families can least afford it.

News reports today show that the Abbott government pressed SPC to slash worker’s wages by up to 40%. The Abbott Government was twice found misleading the public after private companies SPC and Toyota were forced to publicly clarify misleading statements made the government about worker’s wages and conditions.

“Now that the so called ‘wages blowout’ has been proven to be a lie, the Abbott Government has fallen back on individual contracts – which were a hallmark of WorkChoices – cutting wages and diminishing conditions that Australian workers rely on in order to balance life and work.”

Under WorkChoices most individual contracts removed basic award conditions:

–        65% of individual agreements removed penalty rates

–        70% of individual agreements removed shift loading

–        68% of individual agreements removed annual leave loading

–        50% of individual agreements removed public holiday pay

Download the ACTU media release.

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