Labor on a mission in CQ to tip the balance towards workers
WELL in advance of the next federal election, the Labor Party has signalled their intention to battle for greater fairness for Australia's workers.
With wages stagnating and work insecurity rife, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Brendan O'Connor, Queensland Senator Murray Watt and Russell Robertson, the Labor candidate for Capricornia have been on a blitz around CQ telling concerned people that they were being heard and solutions were incoming.
At the politics in the pub meeting on Wednesday and a meeting of workers yesterday, the Labor politicians heard complaints and fielded queries about how they planned to address the growing incidence of insecure and casualised work and unfair labour hire practices.
Mr O'Connor apologised for the in-fighting that dragged down the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government saying that they had lost sight of what was important - governing long term to affect meaningful change.
He also admitted that his government hadn't moved quickly enough to adapt to the changing employment environment which had seen an explosion in labour hire companies.
After spending five years in a stable Opposition, he said his government now had the clear plans to go about fixing the problems with the present system where the pendulum had swung too far away from the rights of the workers.
"We need to respond to precarious employment and one of the ways of doing that is we ensure that people who should be employed permanently are not deemed to be casual so we're going to redefine casual and make sure there's a clearer line between what's permanent and what's casual," Mr O'Connor said.
"We're looking to stop enterprise agreements being terminated by employers when it means people have to go back onto the award, that's a really unfair practice that's going on.
"Also we want to stop sham contracting and regulate labour hire."
He said Labor planned on introducing a national scheme for labour hire that would allow them to cancel the licence of companies who acted in an improper way towards their workforce.