The Albanese Government has acted on their election promise to get wages moving and make workplaces fairer for women with the introduction of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill.
This Bill takes important steps towards modernizing the existing bargaining system to help Australians get the pay rises they deserve, and to begin to address the unprecedented real wage cuts they are experiencing. Collective bargaining is the engine of wage growth but has not been working for ten years, with only one in seven workers today covered by a collective agreement.
Whilst these are important steps forward, the union movement is concerned that restricting access to new bargaining options, including by locking many workers out and the failure to remove red tape that encumbers workers may limit its effectiveness.
The legislation also contains significant and long-overdue reforms to make workplaces more respectful and equitable for women including stronger laws to tackle the gender pay gap and stop sexual harassment in workplaces.
Fulfilling election promises to abolish the wasteful and politicized bodies of the previous Government is welcome, but more needs to be done to stop wage theft across the economy.
Whilst the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill makes a start on delivering Labor’s election commits to make jobs more secure, by putting limits on fixed term contracts, much more needs to be done, especially for workers in casual, gig or labor hire work.