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What will Tony Abbott’s IR policy mean for workers?

May 9, 2013Hot Topic

Opposition leader Tony Abbott today announced his industrial relations policy – and there’s already great concern around what it means for workers.

Tony Abbott said he has no plans to change unfair dismissal laws or measures to set penalty rates in his first term if elected as Prime Minister in September.

However he said he will focus on measures to “improve” the current Fair Work Act and extend access to existing individual flexibility arrangements to all workers.

The Opposition policy also outlines plans to establish a Productivity Commission Review into the current Fair Work Act – leaving open the option for further changes.

Loco Division Secretary Bob Hayden said that while Tony Abbott is obviously treading very carefully, the early signs are worrying for workers.

“Given the backlash against WorkChoices, it’s not surprise that Tony Abbott has chosen his words very carefully, but it’s not too difficult to read between the lines.

“The policy document says that the Opposition wouldn’t bring back AWAs if elected, but talks up the importance of individual flexibility agreements.

“We should be very wary about AWAs coming back in a different disguise.

ACTU President Ged Kearney agreed workers should be concerned the Coalition bringing back the controversial agreements.

“The Coalition have put individual contracts fairly and squarely at the centre of their industrial relations policies,” she said.

You can see the Opposition’s full policy document here.

And see Unions NSW’ response to the policy here.

Are you concerned about IR policy if an Abbott-led Government gets in in September? Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said that, “Tony Abbott’s IR policy should send shivers up the spine of every Australian worker.” What do you think?