The RTBU recently stood alongside 1200 union leaders, organisers and rank and file members as the new ACTU Secretary Sally McManus launched the movement-wide campaign to change the rules that are holding back working people, and to fight to bring fairness back to Australia. Our job is to look after our members, and to do that better we need the rules to change. The Industrial Relations system, with the Fair Work Act is too restrictive, too harsh and too pro-employer. These are the rules that we want to change. These are the rules that need to change.
On behalf of all workers, as a union movement, we are creating a ‘log of claims’ for conditions that should be standard across all industries.
The trap of casualization has affected many workers for a long time now, and more and more we are beginning to see its effects on our own members. Casual employees, who have worked on a regular basis for six months deserve the right to choose to convert to permanent work. For too long our laws have not properly defined casual employment. Working people have the right to stable, permanent jobs.
As a union, the RTBU have also supported the Transport Workers Union as food delivery riders have come together to take a stand against unfair pay and unsafe conditions. Classing workers as individual contractors has seen people paid below minimum wage, denied access to workers’ compensation, denied sick leave, superannuation, access to unfair dismissal and denied the benefits of collective bargaining. Everyone deserves these rights.
Labour hire needs a complete overhaul. Labour hire companies simply rent out workers for lower pay and less job security. It’s got to stop. We need to completely overhaul labour hire companies by creating a national labour hire licensing system to ensure they are not cutting wages and conditions.
These workers need protection from unfair dismissal by the host employer, and the ability to bargain with the company so they can win fair pay rises and gain secure work.
We need to end the uncapped temporary working visa system. The government is shipping in exploitation and taking job opportunities for locals through its temporary visa system and it needs to end. The system should favour permanent migration and local employment. Temporary visas should only be used for genuine shortages, with strong protections against abuse.
We must invest in quality skills for the future. Privatising vocational education and training has been a disaster. We must rebuild the funding for schools, TAFE and universities, and better educate the workers of the future.
The government is negotiating “free trade” agreements that sell out Australian jobs. We must only enter into agreements which defend and improve wages and job security. They should not be able to bypass our laws regarding the movement of people just for the benefit of corporations.
The government is using our money to buy from overseas, when they should be buying local. Rewrite the Commonwealth Procurement Rules to ensure that the government hires directly and locally, and prefers local businesses which pay fairly and provide secure jobs.
As many of our members know, the majority of working people have a responsibility to care for children, sick relatives, or
an elderly parent. We need to change the rules so people have the right to part time or reduced hours. Plus, workers deserve the right to return to work when their caring responsibilities have ended.
Too many people in Australia have no job security. They can no longer predict or plan their lives. Having a job you can count on is a foundation of the Australian way of life. The rules must be changed so jobs with basic security and rights can be restored.
People around the country are ready to take action to change the rules and win more secure jobs and fair pay rises. They know big business has too much power, and they know that when working people join together we are mighty and unbreakable. The trade union movement is almost 2 million members strong; we have the power to send a message that we will no longer stand for broken rules.
The “Change the Rules” rally will be the largest mobilisation of working people since the Your Rights at Work campaign more than a decade ago. The RTBU calls on all of our off roster members to hit the streets on Wednesday 9 May. Meet the RTBU at 9am at the RTBU Office.