Unions NSW calls on the Turnbull Government to reject the changes recommended in today’s Productivity Commission report as it is a recipe for creating a two tiered workforce which accentuates exploitation and entrenches inequality in the labour market.

“The Productivity Commission acknowledges that awards are an important safety net but they plan on creating a new subset of employment regulations restricting the ability for employees to bargain,” Unions NSW Acting Secretary Mark Morey said.

“On the one hand we will have a growing group of workers in insecure employment including guest workers, with limited protection from the Award safety net, subject to abuse and exploitation. While on the other hand we’ll have a shrinking number of employees with access to regulated industrial provisions.”

Mr Morey said the introduction of ‘enterprise contracts’ will give employers a free licence to undercut the conditions contained in Awards, specifically allowing them to target particular groups of vulnerable workers including casual and weekend employees.

“These contracts will be forced upon new employees and will restrict any employee input or say around the removal of basic rights and conditions.

“The Government is simply trying to bring back Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) through the back door. 

“The ongoing success of the federal IR system is that it has provided the certainty of an industrial safety net for workers across Australia. Industrial relations needs to stop being used as a political football to suit the ideological requirements of the government of the day.

“Prime Minister Turnbull talks about innovation and taking the high road. These proposals don’t facilitate innovation but drive us down the road of entrenched inequality and insecure work,” Mr Morey said.

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