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Strong collective bargaining by workers leads to pay hike
01
Nov '08
More than 125,000 Queensland public sector workers stand to get pay rises of around $102 a week as a result of a new deal on wages and conditions negotiated by unions.

For a worker on an average wage, the three-year pay deal won by unions last week and due to be voted on by public sector workers in the next few weeks, was almost $30 a week more than the State Government originally offered.

Speaking at a meeting in Brisbane, ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said the pay deal shows that strong collective bargaining rights are the key to job security and decent wages in these uncertain economic times.

“There are around 1.6 million Queensland workers who are in the private sector and are now covered by the Federal Government's industrial relations laws.

“It is essential that workers in Queensland's private sector have the same capacity to bargain collectively for better pay and conditions as those workers in the public sector.

“It would be very unfair if workers in Queensland's private sector could not get the same good outcome that employees in the State public service stand to get.

“This is why it is vital the Rudd Labor Government scraps the rest of WorkChoices and gives all private sector workers collective bargaining rights that are backed up by a strong independent umpire.

With the Rudd Labor Government due to release its draft new IR laws in the next few weeks, Mr Lawrence is in Brisbane to press the case for greater job and income security for workers in the current uncertain economic situation.

“Unions are calling for the new laws to establish an independent umpire that has the power to settle disputes and for workers to have strong collective bargaining rights, protection from unfair dismissal and guaranteed redundancy provisions.

“A fair and comprehensive system of collective bargaining will protect incomes and jobs for working Australians, grow workforce skills and drive productivity.

“Business and the economy benefit when workers have stable jobs and wages that provide a decent standard of living and security for families,” said Mr Lawrence.

Employers also benefit by being able to collectively bargain with their workforce, according to the Queensland Public Sector Union. Wage rises secured as part of this deal will help to improve retention of professionals and service provision.

Australian Council of Trade Unions

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