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Issue #1655      September 10, 2014

Rally for rights

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) deputy national secretary Mick Doleman took to the podium in Devonport as Tasmanians gathered to protest the federal and state Liberal Party’s moves to encroach on rights, wages and equality.

Just last week the Tasmanian Liberal Will Hodgman government tabled a Bill that leaves the setting of all wages and conditions (penalty rates, overtime, sick leave, holiday pay etc) for every public sector employee entirely to the discretion of the Treasurer.

“The Treasurer by regulation, with the mere flick of a pen, will have the power to set the wages of any individual employee, any group of employees or the entire public sector, every year, year on year, forever,” Unions Tasmania President Roz Madsen said.

The Treasurer will dictate wages and working conditions, abolishing collective bargaining and trade union representation.

“This Bill will form the blueprint for the Abbott government’s overhaul of the Federal Workplace Relations system. Everything about this smacks of Eric Abetz. Thinly veiled as a budget savings measure it is a shameless attempt to drive a stake into the heart of every workplace right we take for granted in this country – bargaining for wages, penalty rates, allowances, overtime, sick leave, holiday pay, everything.”

Mick Doleman said union members were particularly susceptible from attacks by conservative governments.

“We’re seeing the attempted dismantling of universal healthcare and unfair meddling with superannuation which will affect all workers,” Doleman said.

“On top of that unionised and working class people are facing a whole host of other assaults on wages, conditions and penalty rates.

“I’ve never encountered such a nasty, ideological-driven government in my lifetime and I hope I won’t ever have to suffer another period like it.”

Tasmania branch secretary Jason Campbell said the state was in a disarray with local governments trying to disallow protests, at the same time the federal government are taking away ingrained workplace conditions.

“It seems Hodgman and Abbott only want to take, take, take, but not from the miners, and not from high income earners, they only take from those who have the least to give.”

Next article – Facing the fallout – Renewable energy in a post Fukushima world

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