By Louise Wallace.
The CFMEU is calling on the Senate to pass new industrial relations laws to protect Australian workers.
The Fair Work Bill will replace the Coalition’s Work Choice laws in January 2010 to revamp employment laws, workers’ rights and employee wages and awards.
In the meantime, changes will be made to the current policy to finalise the bill and provide a better system before the full system is implemented.
CFMEU president, Tony Maher, is urging independent Senators to approve industrial relations reforms that enhance union power.
However, the Australian Industry Group is pressing for amendments to limit the right of union officials to enter worksites and inspect wage records.
ACTU President, Sharan Burrow, says some amendments proposed by the Coalition and cross bench Senators would be “worse than WorkChoices”.
“Changes to exempt small businesses from the laws would leave more than three million workers worse off at a time when they can least afford it,” she said.
“Under the changes, these workers would have less protection from being unfairly sacked, no right to union support in the workplace, and no help from the independent umpire to get better wages.
No changes to the current policy have been made so far, and all current employment contracts remain unchanged.