Workers’ rights at risk through new regulations

Tasmanian Labor
  • New regulations allow employers to fast track changes to agreements
  • Regulations may be short-term, but changes to conditions could endure
  • Federal Government mustn’t use pandemic to undermine workers rights
  • Tasmanian workers may be paying for years for changes to industrial relations arrangements unveiled this week by the Federal Government.

    Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations Michelle O’Byrne said new regulations would allow employers to fast track changes to enterprise agreements and may unfairly disadvantage workers.

    “Those changes to enterprise agreements could include things such as cancelling or delaying future wage increases, and giving the employer more rights to tell employees to take accrued leave.

    “Critically, the regulations will allow employers to significantly reduce the time that workers have to consider proposed changes.

    “Until now, workers have had seven days to review changes, and take advice from a union, lawyer or other advisor. That time has now been reduced to one day.

    “People who are already worried about the security of their job could be railroaded into accepting working conditions that leave them worse off.”

    Ms O’Byrne said while the new regulation may last only six months, any changes to an enterprise agreement would become permanent, for the life of that agreement.

    “That means any changes to an enterprise agreement agreed to in the context of a pandemic would persist long after the pandemic is over.

    “These changes may have been designed to help businesses survive through this period of crisis, but they are equally available to businesses that are largely unaffected.

    “The regulations may have dire effects for workers both now and in the long-term.

    “Our concern is that rights temporarily given up by workers during this crisis may be lost to them permanently.

    “We call on the Federal Government to reconsider these changes and not use the pandemic as an excuse to undermine workers’ rights.”

    Michelle O’Byrne

    Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations

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