Workplace changes will drive inequality, says TWU

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says any deregulation of workplaces will reinforce inequality in Australia.

Workplace changes will drive inequality, says TWU
Transport Workers Union national secretary Tony Sheldon.


Transport workers are being forced into part-time hours and are having to take lengthy unpaid periods within shifts, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) says.

It has warned the Productivity Commission that any changes to existing workplace regulations will drive these kinds of dangerous and unfair inequalities even further.

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says the commission’s ongoing investigation into workplace relations has brought up several ideas that would prove detrimental to workers and the wider economy.

These have included restrictions on unions and workers’ rights to organise.

"What we’ve seen from employer submissions to the Productivity Commission is a delight in the idea of restricting the right to pursue a better outcome for working families in bargaining and restricting the right to stand up and fight by striking," he says. 

"But this is a short-sighted view of how our economy and society should work." 

The TWU’s own submission features a case study on truck drivers who are not being paid for unloading vehicles or time spent waiting at customer distribution centres. 

"This amounts to wage theft and the result often ends in tragedy on our roads – as it puts pressure on truck drivers to speed and drive for longer to make enough take-home pay," the TWU says.

The union remains sceptical of the inquiry and any changes it might recommend.

"Our road transport members cannot afford a return to draconian workplace laws," its submission states.

"If this review makes any recommendation that gives more powers to the principal employers (customers) over transport companies, sub-contractors and employees, it will be guilty of adding further pressures on drivers trying to make a living wage."

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