Summit needed to protect jobs, says ACTU

ACTU wants summit of unions, business and governments to develop a stimulus package aimed at securing jobs

The peak union group wants a summit of unions, business and governments to be held to plan a stimulus package aimed at securing jobs.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) says the summit is essential to develop an innovative response to the global financial crisis to reduce its impact on workers.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow says a second stimulus package must be rapidly implemented directly focused on jobs, building on the more than $10 billion initiative introduced before Christmas last year.

"A summit won’t solve the economic downturn, but it can achieve a consensus about measures to minimise its impact on jobs and incomes of working Australians," Burrow says.

"The Prime Minister has said we are all in this together, and we need to get all stakeholders in the one room to discuss a joint strategy."

Using BHP Billiton’s decision to sack more than 3000 Australian workers, Burrow says the outlook for jobs is getting "bleaker" as each day passes.

The union heavyweight claims profitable companies are shirking their responsibility to protect jobs at a time when economists warn unemployment may rise by more than 200,000 people this year.

Burrow says new income security and training measures need to be explored to keep the country’s labour force off the long-term unemployed queues.

The ACTU also wants banks to avoid foreclosing on homeowners unable to meet their repayments.

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