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IR Omnibus Bill Senate Inquiry – workers to give evidence

Workers to tell Senate Inquiry IR Bill will create insecurity, exploitation and wage cuts

Working people from a wide range of industries will give evidence to the IR Omnibus Bill Senate Inquiry.

The hearing is an opportunity for parliamentarians from both sides of politics and the crossbench to hear from the people who will be directly affected by the changes proposed in the bill which currently includes:

  • Australian workers who have sacrificed so much during the pandemic, and who are going to be deeply affected by the Morrison Government’s proposed changes to industrial relations legislation, will speak with a senate inquiry into the IR Omnibus Bill.
  • The ACTU’s submission to the senate inquiry states that the changes will not only harm workers, but will hurt Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
  • Across three hearings in Townsville, Adelaide and Canberra, union members will provide their lived experience as evidence of the harmful impacts this bill will have on their lives.
  • The ACTU’s main concerns with the IR Omnibus Bill include, but are not limited to:
    • making it easier for employers to casualise jobs that would have otherwise been permanent;
    • making bargaining for better pay and conditions more difficult than it already is;
    • allowing wage cuts;
    • taking rights off blue collar workers on big projects; and,
    • weakening wage theft punishments in jurisdictions where it was already deemed a criminal act.
  • The bill will also allow the Fair Work Commission to approve agreements that do not pass the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) meaning workers could be significantly worse off, even though exemptions for exceptional circumstances already exist for businesses that are struggling to recover from the pandemic-related recession.

The ALP caucus has resolved to oppose the Morrison Government’s Omnibus IR Bill in its entirety, in a major shift from the more cooperative approach taken towards emergency legislation last year at the height of the pandemic.

The legislation is still before the House of Representatives but has been referred to a Senate inquiry, which is due to report on March 12.

With Labor and the Greens opposed to the Bill, its fate looks set to depend on the votes of five crossbench senators – Jacqui Lambie Network’s Jacqui Lambie, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’s Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts, Centre Alliance’s Stirling Griff and South Australian Independent Rex Patrick.