Abbott must condemn new laws that attack workplace rights in NSW15-06-2011
Liberal Leader Tony Abbott must immediately reject new anti-worker laws in his home state or it can only be concluded they are the template for a new plan by the Federal Coalition, says the ACTU.
Thousands of public sector workers will rally in Sydney at lunchtime today in protest at the new laws, in what is the first major event of a national campaign.
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said the Industrial Relations Amendment (Public Sector Conditions of Employment) Bill was the most serious attack on rights at work since the Howard Government's WorkChoices laws.
He said the laws were unjust, introduced without a mandate, and in breach of Australia's international obligations to respect labour rights.
"These laws are so bad it is in the interest of every working person in Australia to see them gone," Mr Lawrence said.
"These laws would allow the O'Farrell Liberal Government to cut pay and conditions, without negotiation or consultation. These are the people who work hard every day providing the people of NSW with vital services."
Mr Lawrence said Tony Abbott could not hide behind the excuse it was a "state issue" when fundamental workplace rights were under threat.
"Where is Tony Abbott?" Mr Lawrence said. "Tony Abbott has been happy to swan into workplaces around the country the past couple of weeks to attempt to pose as the working person's best friend, but when rights at work are really under attack he is nowhere to be seen.
"Tony Abbott thinks he doesn't have to take a stand. He thinks he can hide behind the excuse that this is a "state issue". But it is not a state issue – this is an issue about the rights of all working people.
"If Mr Abbott is genuine that WorkChoices was "dead, buried and cremated", he should tell his Liberal mates in his home state to get rid of these laws.
"Because no person or political party who really cared about working people and Australian jobs, about the services in our community, could support these laws.
"And if Mr Abbott fails to condemn these laws, it can only mean a similar attack on rights at work is back on the agenda of the Federal Liberal Party as well."