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Change The Rules moves into next phase

Queensland unions will use the state’s Labour Day celebrations to push ahead with a national campaign to change the rules and give working Australians more secure jobs and fair pay rises.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said local unions would ramp up Change The Rules community campaign activities in the lead-up to Labour Day celebrations across the state from 5-7 May.

“Millions of Queensland workers back our campaign to make a difference to their job security and wages,” said Ms McLennan.

“More than 30,000 Queenslanders and their families will turn out on Labour Day in support of this campaign – and the solutions that Sally McManus outlined today,” she said.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus today used a National Press Club address to outline how and why Australia should change its workplace relations laws.

Ms McManus said casual employees who have worked on a regular basis for six months, deserve the right to choose to convert to permanent work.

The policy platform also called for a complete overhaul of labour hire, equal rights for workers in the gig economy, ending an “uncapped” temporary working visa system, rebuilding funding for schools, TAFE and universities, and rewriting Commonwealth procurement policy to give preference to local businesses and local workers.

Ms McLennan asserted that big business has too much power in Australia.

“Corporate profits are up 40 percent but working people are struggling to get a pay rise and much of the workforce is in insecure work,” she said.

“Only 60 per cent of Queensland workers are in secure employment. The rest – around 900,000 Queensland workers – are engaged either as casuals, on short-term contracts, in labour hire, on temporary work visas or as “independent” contractors,” she said.

“Current laws have made it more and more difficult to protect permanent work, resulting in an underclass of workers without jobs they can count on.

“These workers have no sick leave, no holidays, no job security, little bargaining power and severely reduced capacity to secure their family’s financial future.

“Casualisation and insecure work have led to Australia having more inequality now than at any time on record,” said Ms McLennan.

“Working people in Queensland – and across Australia – want change. They’re sick of one third of big businesses not paying tax. They’re sick of watching CEO bonuses are going up, company profits soaring while their own pay falls behind basic living costs.

“When big business has too much power, working people pay the price.

“But working people can now do something about it. They can join the campaign, join their union, join us on Labour Day and be part of the movement to change the rules.

“Labour Day across Queensland will be an opportunity for workers to show how important it is for this campaign to succeed,” she said.