Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford. Picture: Evan Morgan
Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford. Picture: Evan Morgan

Union to protest industrial relations bill in Rocky

Rockhampton union members will protest on Thursday morning against workplace law changes currently before the Senate.

They will be accompanied by a mobile billboard outside Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry’s office.

The action is part of a statewide campaign calling on Queensland’s federal politicians to reject the Industrial Relations Omnibus Bill.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Michael Clifford said the bill would give employers more power to cut wages and conditions, make jobs casual, and reduce job security for workers.

“The economy and local businesses will not be able to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic if workers have their pay cut,” he said.

“Workers and their families need financial security to spend money in their local communities.

“You can’t heal the economy by hurting working people.”

Mr Clifford said the proposed laws were especially concerning for workers in labour hire.

“The bill uses a sledgehammer approach to strip long term casuals, such as those working in labour hire, of any entitlement to annual and sick leave and will further embed insecure casual work across all industries and workplaces,” he said.

“These proposed changes undermine existing Queensland laws that already crack down on wage and superannuation theft and skew penalties in favour of employers.”

“We are asking all Queensland Senators and MPs to boot this bill entirely.”

A Senate inquiry report into the laws will be handed down on March 12 before an expected vote later this month.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry.
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry.

Ms Landry said that the changes proposed were actually about getting more Australians back into jobs and making them better off.

“The package of measures that the Minister for Industrial Relations has outlined is designed to deal with the practical issues that are preventing people getting back into jobs,” she said.

“Decisions about enterprise agreements will still be made by the independent umpire – the Fair Work Commission.

“The Federal Government is trying to legislate casual workers to have the right to convert to full-time work, but the Labor Party has opposed it every step of the way: back in 2018, we tried to pass similar legislation where there was a feasible pathway for casuals to convert to full-time work, but the Labor Party opposed it back then too.”

Ms Landry said that Labor’s own industrial relations policy would result in casual employees being stripped of their casual loading – an average loss of $153 per week.

She said union members should “pick up the phone to their Labor friends and ask them why are they trying to keep them out of full-time work”.



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