The destruction of Australia’s industrial relations system announced by the Australian Coalition Government is extreme, unfair, uncaring and bad for the economy. The vast majority of employees will lose wages and job security. The battlers will become cannon fodder for unscrupulous employment practices.
Robin Banks, Chief Executive Officer of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said today,
It is the act of an irresponsible and uncaring government to destroy fairness and equity in the workplaces of over 90% of working Australians. And it will prove bad for the Australian economy to undermine job security.
We are being asked to believe that allowing employers to sack a worker for no reason will improve productivity and the economy. Workers will be forced to work longer hours and in worse conditions in order to keep their jobs. They will be much less likely to feel secure enough in their job to spend money on goods and services. There is also no guarantee that wages will increase to meet increases in the cost of living.
This will lead to reduced retail spending as average families are forced to lock away more money in savings in case the family’s income is lost. Money will be lost to the economy. It will lead to reduced spending on cars and housing. That in turn is likely to lead to reductions in employment in the building, manufacturing and retail industries. And all this while we are freeing up our markets to the enormous economic power of the US and China, where labour is much cheaper.
The Liberal Party claims to care about families and the battlers. Yet the changes are about increasing business flexibility and profitability, not about the needs of families that, in the vast majority of cases in Australia, rely on earned income.
The government has promised low interest rates. But that is a promise with no value if people have no job security. It doesn’t matter much what the interest rate is if you have no income to make the repayment. And the impact of losing your job goes well beyond the potential loss of the family home. It has enormous emotional impacts on individuals and families.
There is nothing fair about allowing an employer to sack a worker without reason. There is nothing productive about unemployment. There is no economic benefit in people having less disposable income.’
The experience of already vulnerable workers is one that we all should try to understand and learn from. For that is all our futures under Howard’s industrial plan.
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169