Union welcomes Senate support for public sector workers

Posted June 26, 2013 by Together

Queensland’s public sector union Together has welcomed action by Queensland Senator Claire Moore in support of public sector workers around the country.

Senator Moore today moved a motion which has been adopted by the Australian Senate supporting efforts by Together, and the CPSU, to provide better protections for public sector workers who are currently at the mercy of state governments who have legislated away important rights that are otherwise enjoyed by all Australian workers.  The landmark resolution would make clear the Senate’s support for the adoption of ILO Conventions which govern bargaining for all workers.  Once adopted, these Conventions would mean that state governments would be breaching international conventions if they continued to over-rule collective bargaining agreements and legislate workers’ conditions directly.

Together Acting Secretary Julie Bignell said, “Senator Moore’s motion not only recognises the value of our public sector, but also that public sector workers should not be treated worse than other workers when it comes to change in the workplace or collective bargaining rights.

“Around Australia, state governments have been using their legislative power to take away rights from their employees.  Other employers simply don’t get to write the rules and change them as they go along.  State government’s shouldn’t get away with this, and Senator Moore’s motion goes a long way to addressing the situation if it is passed.”

The motion, moved by Senator Claire Moore is: That the Federal Government –

  1. work cooperatively with the states through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), and the ACTU, in order to get agreement among all states on a minimum standard of entitlements for all workers in all industrial relations jurisdictions across Australia, particularly around reflecting Australia’s international obligations in respect of consultation, dispute resolution, general protections, major organisational change and entitlements;
  2. commence the process of ratifying the ILO Collective Bargaining Convention 1981 (No. 154) and Collective Bargaining Recommendation 1981 (No. 163);
  3. explore options to deal with the growing problem of indirect employment relationships, particularly through labour hire arrangements used by state governments and the Commonwealth.
  4. explore options to ensure all Australian workers, including those in state public sector employment, have adequate and equal protections of their rights at work.

The motion also makes clear that the burgeoning growth of insecure work arrangements utilised by state and federal governments needs to be addressed.  Large amounts of tax-payer dollars are currently being spent on indirect employment relationships which do not benefit our community.

Together has also praised Minister Bill Shorten for his enthusiastic support for this motion and looks forward to seeing Australia adopt these important ILO conventions and enter into a proper discussion with state governments and the ACTU about workers’ rights in the public sector generally.

Ms Bignell added, “We also want to acknowledge the great support we have received from the Australian Greens about this issue and for their support of this motion in the Senate.”


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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