Gillard: "We will protect workers' entitlements"
Aug 04, 2010
Julia Gillard addressing the 2010 AMWU National Conference
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that a re-elected Labor Government would protect workers' entitlements.
Speaking at the AMWU national conference last week, Ms Gillard said the‘Fair Entitlements Guarantee’ would protect workers whose company made them redundant but could not pay workers’ redundancy, leave, and unpaid wages.
“We will introduce the ‘Fair Entitlements Guarantee’, and that guarantee will protect redundancy pay for up to four weeks for each year of service, all annual leave, all long service leave, and up to three months in unpaid wages.
“Under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee, we’ll no longer have a situation where hard-working Australians, members of your union, who have shown loyalty to their employer, sometimes for 10, 20, 30 years, end up being left high and dry”, she said.
Prime Minister Gillard acknowledged the work of the AMWU in campaigning for the reforms she had announced.
AMWU National Secretary Dave Oliver said:
“Securing workers’ entitlements has been a big issue for us for many years. We’ve been campaigning for over twenty years now to secure workers’ entitlements from company collapses.
“The AMWU welcomes the common sense approach from the Prime Minister on this issue. It stands in stark contrast to the Coalition’s policies– the only guarantee from Tony Abbott is that he will do further damage to workers’ rights, as we have seen with his inability to let go of WorkChoices.”
The ‘Fair Entitlements Guarantee’ will replace the General Employee Entitlements Redundancy Scheme (GEERS), which was put in place by the Howard Government after the Ansett collapse. While GEERS helped soften the blow of redundancy for some workers, it still left many workers tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket by not requiring workers to be paid out all their owed entitlements.
The Government will also strengthen compliance measures to ensure employees receive their superannuation entitlements, as well as Strengthening Corporate and Taxation Law to give the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) increased powers to take action against companies that do the wrong thing. Reforms will be introduced that target ‘phoenix’ company arrangements.