Delegates are the elected representatives of workers in a workplace, serving as a voice for workers when issues arise, and opening lines of communication between workers and employers.
The Closing Loopholes Bill – currently being considered by parliament – will introduce new protections for delegates so these workers can continue to play their constructive and vital role shaping better and safer workplaces.
The way things are, delegates are too often punished by employers simply for acting as a voice for workers, and this needs to change.
Because we know that no matter the workplace, when delegates are able to perform their role, they help transform workplaces for the better.
Delegates are volunteers who tirelessly dedicate their own time to address their colleagues’ concerns and support meaningful conversations with managers to improve working conditions.Sally McManus, ACTU Secretary
An unwavering dedication to fellow workers
Across Australia, it is delegates like Christy – an Engineer and Electrician from New South Wales – who are directly involved in crucial worker advocacy on a daily basis, supporting workers within a system that that is often slanted to favour employers:
In Christy’s experience, delegates are an integral force for positive change in any workplace.
When workers feel well-represented and have a say in the workplace, they are far more likely to be happy and engaged with the work they’re doing.
Helping delegates do what they do best
The proposed changes will empower workplace delegates to perform their role more effectively and give them the protection they need to do so.
Zoe, a delegate from Queensland who works as a Remote Court Monitor, understands the critical role that delegates play:
Protecting people who are protecting the workforce is really important.
Remote Court Monitor and workplace delegate
The Closing Loopholes Bill reforms are crucial because there are too many instances of delegates being excluded, ignored, stood down and even sacked for no other reason than being a voice for workers.
Workplace delegate and midwife, Pamela, knows this all too well, and illustrates the difficult reality of what delegates are facing without adequate protection:
The Closing Loopholes Bill will create space for delegates to do their best work. Delegates like Rute, a social worker in palliative care, who argues there is a direct connection between delegate rights and workers understanding their rights in the workplace:
We need to have the freedom to speak about workers’ rights, freedom to create that awareness and to engage with other colleagues going through difficult times.
Social worker and workplace delegate
Greater protections for delegates so workers are heard
The Closing Loopholes Bill will make it easier for delegates like Christy, Zoe, Pamela and Rute to do what they do best – bring employers and workers together for a common cause and create happier and healthier workplaces.
When delegates can freely perform their role in a workplace – and the worker voices they represent are heard – the outcomes are better for everyone involved.
We need your help to get the Bill across the line. Sign the Close the Loopholes petition today so every politician understands what’s at stake.