Fixing our broken bargaining system will mean workers in essential areas like early education and care, aged care and disability support, most of whom are women, will have a chance to push for improvements to wages they so clearly need.
Jane Johnson, Director of the East Brunswick Kindergarten and Childcare Centre, was in Parliament when Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke announced the reforms:
“When I heard the Minister tell me and my fellow educators that they would fix this broken bargaining system and get wages moving again, I saw some hope on the horizon.
“Educators need a reason to stay, and early learning needs comprehensive reform. We’re losing hundreds of experienced educators every month. These changes give us some hope we can turn this around.”
Improvements to the bargaining system announced today take much needed steps towards a modernised approach for workers to come together collectively and negotiate fairly.
Without changes like these, workers will continue to go backwards even as CEO wages and corporate profit growth outstrip workers’ wages.
Other key changes announced today have a focus on women and ending the gender pay gap, which is critical. These include improving the equal remuneration order processes, the introduction of a sexual harassment regime, and the introduction of specialist Fair Work panels for the care and community sector and for pay equity.
These reforms will put Australia on a better course after years of neglect in our industrial relations system.
Quotes attributable to Tim Kennedy, United Workers Union National Secretary
“It’s past time that workers saw some reform to our broken industrial relations system. Workers’ ability to collectively bargain in an efficient and effective manner is crucial if we want to see wages move forward after more than a decade of wage stagnation.
“There is more to be done, but these reforms represent the crucial first step from a government that was elected on the promise that they would get wages moving and address the gender pay gap in this country. If we want to do that, workers need a fair bargaining system that works.
“To the aged care workers, the early childhood educators, the disability support workers and UWU members across the country, today is a recognition of your ongoing hard work and your bravery in standing together and calling for change.”