Natalie Hutchins: State Government To Stand Up For Victorian Workers

The Andrews Labor Government has vowed to fight for Victorian workers, following the release of a Productivity Commission report that proposes changes, which would hurt workers’ wages, conditions and bargaining power.

Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins said the Workplace Relations Framework report, released yesterday, recommends cutting penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers, a lower benchmark for enterprise agreements and the introduction of new “enterprise contracts”.

Ms Hutchins said the Labor Government would be encouraging feedback from Victorians on the potential impact on wages and conditions.

Ms Hutchins also called on the Federal Government to unequivocally rule out the proposed changes to penalty rates, which would see the take home pay of hospitality and retail workers working on Sundays cut.

Ms Hutchins said the changes would create a two tiered system of workers and was a clear attempt to undermine the importance of Sundays, and time spent with loved ones.

Ms Hutchins said the Labor Government would be examining the impacts of the proposed switch from the current Better Off Overall Test to a “no disadvantage test” and its lower threshold for approval of enterprise agreements.

Similarly, she said, the Labor Government remained concerned about the proposed introduction of “enterprise contracts,” allowing an employer to unilaterally alter award conditions for a group of employees.

Ms Hutchins vowed to fight any change that would negatively impact on workers, urging any Victorian concerned about the proposed changes to have their say.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins

“The Andrews Labor Government stands firmly beside Victorian workers in fighting any changes that would hurt wages, and conditions, or unfairly inhibit bargaining power.”

“Unfortunately the Federal Government has shown time and time again that it can’t be trusted when it comes to workers’ rights. We’re calling on Malcolm Turnbull to rule out any changes that would hurt Victorian workers.”

“Unlike the Federal Government, Victoria’s Labor Government will be listening to workers when it comes to these issues. I want to hear from the people who will bear the brunt of these proposed changes.”