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Greens shred WorkChoices on building site

Media Release, 20 Nov 2007

Greens lead Senate candidate Larissa Waters will join building workers on a Brisbane building site this morning to launch The Greens Charter of Workplace Rights, and pledge to abolish all of the government's WorkChoices laws and the controversial Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Ms Waters will use a shredder to destroy a copy of the Work Choices legislation at the Petrie Terrace Barracks building site at 9:30am, joined by members of the CFMEU.

“The Greens are the best option for workers and unions seeking strong and fair IR laws at the federal election,” said Ms Waters.

“The Greens are now the only party committed to replacing WorkChoices with a truly fair and equitable industrial relations system that protects the rights of workers and their families.

“The Greens stand for family-friendly industrial relations laws which enable workers to balance work, family and community life.

“We want a strong expanded safety net of minimum conditions, including overtime pay, penalty rates, public holiday pay, rest breaks and redundancy entitlements, and for collective bargaining to be at the centre of our industrial relations system.

“Prime Minister Howard’s WorkChoices continue to hurt workers and Labor has caved in to pressure from big business and weakened its policy to ‘WorkChoices-Lite’.”

“The Greens will be essential for delivering genuine IR reform if a Rudd Labor
Government is elected. Workers and unions will want the third-party insurance of a strong and independent Green voice in the Senate,” said Ms Waters.

The Greens Charter commits to:

  • Scrap AWA’s and individual agreements that override awards and collective agreements;
  • A strong, fair and enforceable set of minimum conditions for all employees;
  • Universal access to unfair dismissal protection and redundancy pay;
  • An enforceable right for employees to collectively bargain;
  • Workers representatives to have the right to enter workplaces to talk with members and to ensure employers are complying with the law;
  • Legal protection for democratic rights, including the right to strike; and
  • Immediately abolishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission
  • .

A full copy of the Greens Charter of Work Rights is included below.

The Greens 'Charter of Work Rights'

  1. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and have an equal opportunity in the workplace.
    Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy workplace.
  2. Everyone has the right to decent pay and to hours of work that let them live a full, happy and healthy life. This right should be protected through enforceable minimum legal standards and fair collective agreements.
  3. Everyone has the right to join a union, and it is essential that unions have a right to visit employees at work to make sure employers are complying with workplace and safety laws, or to discuss union membership.
  4. The rights to collectively bargain, to collectively withhold labour and to collectively organise in a workplace or industry are essential to achieving a sustainable and democratic future.
  5. Disputes about industrial action and workplace matters should be dealt with by an industrial relations commission, not by the courts.
  6. Individual contracts (like AWAs) undermine awards and collective agreements. AWAs should be abolished and workers should be able to move off AWAs immediately.
  7. Employers should not be allowed to use ‘independent contracting’ arrangements or other such devices to undermine the rights of workers.
  8. The Australian Building and Construction Commission and the building industry laws undermine democratic rights.
  9. The ABCC and the building industry laws must be abolished.
  10. ‘WorkChoices’ must be repealed.

Labor’s proposed ‘WorkChoices-lite’ must be amended to reflect the above principles.