ACTU calls on Senate to vote down Fair Work amendments

ACTU calls on Senate to vote down Fair Work amendments

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is calling on cross bench Senators not to vote in favour of the Government’s proposed changes to workplace laws, due before the Senate today, saying they will increase the gender pay gap.

One of the key amendments to the Abbott Government’s Fair Work Amendment Bill is to provide employers with easier access to individual flexibility arrangements.

Under these changes employers will have the ability to vary award or agreement conditions relating to hours of work, overtime, penalty rates, allowances and leave loading.

The government says the changes will benefit women, who will be able to trade their penalty rates for flexible working hours.

But ACTU President Ged Kearney says these changes let employers use women’s caring responsibilities against them.

“These arrangements are individual contracts that let employers use women’s caring responsibilities against them by forcing them to trade off penalty rates for the ability to pick up their child in time from childcare, for example,” she said.

“Now the Government wants to go even further by making employees sign a statement that will mean they can’t get compensation if they’ve been underpaid as a result of trading off entitlements under an unfair agreement.”

Ms Kearney also says the amendments, similar to the Howard government’s workchoices legislation, will see the gender pay gap increase by 2 percent to 20.2 percent.

“What we saw under AWAs was a 2 per cent widening of the gender pay gap. If the Government succeeds in passing the Fair Work Amendment Bill, the already record high 18.2 per cent pay gap will blow out even further, just as it did under AWAs,” Ms Kearney said in a statement.

The legislation passed the House of Representatives last week and is due to be voted on in the Senate today.

Read Ms Kearney’s statement here.

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Amy Whittaker
Amy Whittaker 1402 posts

Amy joined the NRN team in August 2011, before graduating from a B of Arts (Communication-Journalism)/B of Sports Studies from Charles Sturt University in December 2011.

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