‘Boot the Bill’: Worker’s protest outside O’Dowd’s office
“Dangerous” workplace conditions her son faces every day keep a Gladstone mother up at night.
Ann-Marie Allan stood outside Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd’s office on Tuesday morning protesting against the Industrial Relations Omnibus Bill which she claims will hinder her son’s and many others ability to find full-time work.
Ms Allan said her son had worked eight casual jobs, and two of those had “extremely dodgy” work contracts.
“One job he came home with a contract and he was referred to in the contract as a ‘regular casual’,” Ms Allan said.
“I’ve never heard of a regular casual, that’s their new terminology.
“The next job he got was driving a van delivering furniture, he had to sign a contract for $25 an hour.
“The clencher was he had to sign the contract if anything broke in that van he had to pay for it out of his own money – that is bloody outrageous.
“I’ll tell you as a mother, I am not going to stand by and hand to my children less than what I was handed to by my parents.
Queensland Council of Unions assistant general secretary Jacqueline King said the IR Omnibus Bill gave employers more power to cut wages and conditions, make jobs casual and reduce job security for workers.
But the government refutes this and claims the bill will address many problems currently with the enterprise bargaining system.
Ms King said recent reported changes to the legislation were especially concerning for workers in labour hire.
“Today, one in three Australian workers are casuals without annual leave and sick leave,” Ms King said.
“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.”
Ms King said the protest was part of a statewide campaign.
“We are asking all Queensland Senators and MPs to boot this Bill entirely,” she said.
The senate will vote on the proposed Federal Government bill in two weeks.
Mr O’Dowd said working groups suggested solutions to problems with enterprise bargaining, awards, compliance and enforcement and other workplace agreements.
“More than 120 hours of meetings were held over three months with key union and employer groups who demonstrated an enormous amount of good will throughout the process,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“Those discussions have now concluded and the government is working to synthesise the many options put on the table into what will be an Omnibus Bill.”
Mr O’Dowd said the aim was to pass the Bill as early next year so the process of regrowing jobs could begin.
He said the details of individual reforms were still being worked through.
“These reforms will not be driven by ideology, they will need to be pragmatic, appropriately balanced and realistic in scope, given the current make-up of the Australian Senate that any legislative options will need to pass through,” he said.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union state secretary Rohan Webb said the Bill would affect all Australian workers.
“I don’t think a lot of people realise what’s happening right now and that’s why we’re trying to get that word out,” Mr Webb said.
“This will affect all workers whether you are a blue collar worker, a nurse, work for childcare, hospitality or retail.”