Unions NSW has slammed Tony Abbott’s new industrial relations policy as a cynical attempt to diminish the wages and conditions of working people by undermining the organisations that represent them: trade unions.

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said the federal Coalition’s approach was replicating those of Barry O’Farrell and Campbell Newman — tiptoeing through an election before seriously curbing the rights and wages of working people after the poll.

“Tony Abbott is working from the same playbook as Barry O’Farrell and Campbell Newman, adopting a small target strategy on workplace laws during the election campaign, but all the while preparing a serious assault on the rights of working people post election,” Mr Lennon said.

“You simply can’t trust the Coalition when it comes to workplace rights. As we saw with WorkChoices, it is core Coalition business to make life harder for working people.

“By re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission the Coalition would return to a discriminatory legal framework that treats construction workers differently to all other Australian workers, simply because of the industry they work in.

“Likewise, they want to bring back restrictions to union right of entry from WorkChoices, restricting the ability of union members to meet with their representatives which is a direct attack on the ability of Australian workers to freely associate and be part of an organisation that represents their interests in the workplace.

“At a time when years of cooperative relations between business and unions have seen productivity increases and industrial disputes decline, Tony Abbott wants to push through an idealogical agenda that will foster conflict and distrust.

“The only honest part of today’s announcement is Mr Abbott’s admission that the Coalition plans to take further, more aggressive industrial relations changes to the electorate in 2016.

“The name ‘WorkChoices’ may be dead and buried, but there is no question that Tony Abbott is still determined to continue the Coalition’s ideological attack on the rights and conditions of working people in this country.”

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