He simply can’t help himself.
When it comes to reducing workers’ pay and conditions, stripping workers of a voice, reducing the power to bargain for a better deal, Morrison is obsessive.
Make no mistake, if Scott Morrison returns for another term in government, he will once again have workers in his sights.
And it’s not as if his determination to turn the screw on workers and unions popped out of nowhere. Morrison follows a Howard Government legacy that began with declaring war on workers and fighting a union-won battle with the Maritime Union of Australia.
Voters showed what they thought about that legacy when they booted the Howard Government out of office for peddling the much hated ‘Work Choices’ legislation. It’s clear Morrison has yet to learn from his predecessor’s destructive decisions.
Morrison backs mining magnates at a terrible cost
Over the Easter long weekend, Morrison again flagged that given the chance, he’ll be back to have another crack.
He confirmed that he would bring back all elements of the failed ‘IR Omnibus’: a suite of laws which were gutted last year after being unable to win support in Parliament.
While addressing mining executives in Western Australia, Morrison said it was his aim to extend current ‘greenfield arrangements’ from four years to six with changes that the Coalition would make to the Fair Work Act.
This would effectively lock workers and unions into deals without any right to bargain for alterations, improvements, or pay claims for a further two years beyond the agreed period. It would be a blatant breach of good faith and would rob workers of the power to collectively bargain for their own interests.
The big mining companies – that have been rolling in massive profits despite the pandemic punishing other parts of the economy – have been lobbying for these changes for years.
Morrison has always been happy to oblige his corporate mining mates ahead of the interests of workers. The Prime Minister indicated that he was prepared to reboot other elements of his failed “IR Omnibus” legislation that was defeated in parliament.
Labor Deputy Leader in the Senate and Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally told Sky News, “We are facing 1.4 million Australians unemployed or underemployed, can’t get into enough hours at work to pay their bills.”
“We are facing projections in the budget that inflation is going to outpace wages growth. And yet, we have a Prime Minister in Scott Morrison who is promising to bring back legislation that will cut people’s pay.”
Workers “going backwards” under the Morrison Government
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus was not going to let the Prime Minister’s get away with his attempt to re-start his industrial relations war.
It is disgraceful we have living standards going backwards and now Scott Morrison has confirmed if re-elected he will keep attacking workers’ rights.
The discredited laws he wants to bring back strip away some of the most basic protections working people have against pay cuts – such as the Better Off Overall Test.
“People are under more pressure than ever to pay their bills with cost of living increases far outstripping pay rises. The average worker is going backwards in real terms every month, last year they went backwards $800,” McManus said.
It beggars belief that while Australian workers are struggling to get a foot hold in an economy that is already stacked against them, that this Government’s priority has been to further undermine their economic security.
In October last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that 867,900 Australians are working more than one job a week to put food on the table for their families.
Nearly 3 million Australians workers lack any type of job security. An estimated 2.4 million – 20% to 25% of the total workforce – are casual workers, with no paid leave entitlements. A further 500,000 are on fixed-term contracts.
Yet, that’s not enough for the Morrison Government. They want to go even further. McManus has pointed to these attacks on workers’ rights as one of the crucial battlegrounds in this election.
“Unions have always opposed these laws because they would leave workers worse off.”
“The Prime Minister has not done the work necessary to create wage growth and this announcement shows that workers will only continue going backwards if he is re-elected.”