Industrial Relations bill must put workers and carers first


New industrial relations laws must work for women and carers and lift the wages of the low paid, the Greens say, as the government introduces their industrial relations bill to the House. The Greens vote will be essential for the bill to pass through the Senate.

Evidence from months of hearings and over 100 submissions before the Select Committee on Work and Care showed that 5 million people are currently trying to balance work with caring responsibilities. 

Senator Barbara Pocock, Greens Spokesperson for Employment, and chair of the Select committee into Work and Care, said that the damning evidence showed that reform was urgently needed.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP:
“The Greens have said for a long time that the industrial relations system in this country is broken. Pressure on workers has been growing for too long, wages have been too low, and people haven’t been able to bargain for better pay and conditions,” Mr Bandt said.

“Labor needs the support of the Greens to pass this bill. 

“The Greens want industrial relations laws that work for women, work for carers and lift the wages of the lowest paid. That’s what we’ll be looking for as we work our way through this bill.

“For years the Greens have brought bills to Parliament to give people enforceable rights to flexible working arrangements. We need to make sure that people are able to balance work and caring responsibilities. We want to make sure the new bill delivers on a longstanding Greens call.”

Quotes attributable to Greens Spokesperson on Employment, Senator Barbara Pocock:
“It's time we caught up with the real lives of Australia’s 5 million working carers, women and men. Our industrial relations system is broken, but we can fix it,” Senator Pocock said.

“We need to move from the Hunger Games to roster justice, and decent work. That means adequate notice of shift changes, negotiation, minimum hours. 

“Our major supermarkets can predict the kinds and quantities of apples they will buy tomorrow, but apparently can't tell their workers what shifts they’re working. 

“Being unable to plan your life or see your kids is hugely stressful. Many workers withdraw from the labour market because it’s impossible to juggle taking care of the kids and keep working.

“Australian workers, especially women, have waited decades for flexibility that actually works for them. They’ve waited for justice in their rosters, rosters and predictability of their working time.

“I have spent decades in my professional career researching the right to request and roster justice. The research case for change is inarguable. It’s time for major reform.