“Be on high alert”: McManus warns of employer-led wage cuts
Australian Unions Secretary Sally McManus has warned of an attack on workers’ wages, after key employer groups backed away from a deal struck between unions and the Business Council of Australia (BCA).
The agreement, which is part of roundtable discussions that have resulted from the industrial conditions brought on by COVID-19, has seen broad support from both workers and business groups.
However, key employer groups including Australian Industry Group and the Master Builders Association, have rejected the current deal. These groups wanted to include greater “part time flexibility” in the reforms – a move that has been described by unions as “casualisation under another name”.
“We don’t support that proposal”, Ms McManus said. “It would absolutely mean wages would be cut”.
The breakdown in negotiations has led to concern that employer groups were now urging Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter to consider proposals outside of the roundtable. This could potentially lead to detrimental conditions being imposed on workers and their unions.
“Be on high alert,” said Ms McManus. “[Employer groups are now] directly lobbying the government to implement what they wanted all along: cuts to industrial awards”.