Leigh Shears, Hunter Workers Secretary
25 Aug 2022
It's time to modernise our workplace bargaining system. Work has changed, so should workplace laws – it just makes sense.
The National Jobs and Skills summit is a once in a generation opportunity to review and modernise our workplace laws to match the changes in our workplaces and the way we work.
Today we have just 14% of the workforce covered by collective agreements while real wages are declining and insecure work is at crisis point.
This is not just because of the pandemic, this has been happening over the last decade, leading to the decline in living standards for many workers. Low wages were a deliberate design feature of the previous governments economic plan.
A simpler bargaining system is what workers need to improve wages and conditions.
Our enterprise bargaining system was introduced over 30 years ago when work and our workplaces were different. Workers should be able to join together to bargain across an industry or sector.
The Secure Jobs senate enquiry held in Newcastle last November highlighted the need for a review of our workplace laws. The enquiry heard stories from workers working multiple insecure jobs in the aged and community care sector just to meet their basic living needs for example.
It's common sense to review our workplace laws to meet the needs of the modern workplace.
This Government has been elected to get real wages moving and tackle the scourge of insecure work. The summit is a good start by bringing people together.