Politics: Industrial Relations Reform Laws

Australians, if you’d like to let the Senate know what you think of the proposed laws, go here. We have just over five days in which to make our voices heard.

To me, these laws look suspiciously like a ticket back to the early days of the industrial revolution.

I note, for example, that while the 38-day week is ‘protected’, penalty payments for overtime are not – which means that you can still work more hours than that and not get penalty rates.

I also note that there appears to be no provision for sick leave.

And minimum wages will no longer be linked to inflation.

Also, if I understand correctly, attempting to bargain collectively in any way, or to assure that your wage is equivalent to others doing the same work in the same field, appears to carry huge penalties.

Frankly, these laws are terrifying, even for someone in a stable job (because, as it happens, while I can’t be unfairly dismissed from my current, larger-than-100-staff-members workplace, I can be dismissed for ‘operational reasons’ and then rehired on an individual contract). It completely baffles me that the government could think this is good for the economy – doesn’t a healthy economy rely on people having enough money to spend?

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