Unions support IR laws repairing damage to workers' rights from Newman Bleijie years

Queensland unions are backing industrial relations laws that restore workers’ rights and conditions after the full-scale attack by the former Newman-Bleijie government.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said the new legislation introduced into Parliament this week arose out of a long-awaited review that was a Palaszczuk government election commitment.

“These laws show the Palaszczuk government values the work of public sector workers, local government workers, nurses, teachers, emergency services workers and indeed everyone providing public services to Queenslanders,” she said.

Ms McLennan said the government’s open consultation process in drafting the laws was in stark contrast to the previous Newman-Bleijie LNP government.

She said the attack on the laws today by the Local Government Association of Queensland was a desperate defence of the unfair Newman laws.

“Repairing these laws was a clear election commitment by the Palaszczuk government and the LGAQ should put workers and their communities before partisan politics,” she said.

Over the past year, Queensland unions joined industry representatives, lawyers, academics, and employer groups such as the Local Government Association in making public submissions into the IR system.

“These laws reverse the extreme anti-worker legislation introduced by Campbell Newman and Jarrod Bleijie during their single damaging term of government,” she said.

“In three short years, Newman and Bleijie stripped away workers’ rights and entitlements, they hampered the right of employees to bargain and removed job security by encouraging outsourcing of jobs in communities across the state.

“Newman and Bleijie also rendered the independent industrial umpire impotent, and opened the door to the LNP government potentially misusing the 'terminating industrial action' provision to shut down lawful employee action.”

Labor’s changes provided balance to enterprise bargaining negotiations, Ms McLennan said, which had been disrupted in the Newman LNP government rush to rule with an iron fist.

“Queensland workers will benefit from improved enterprise bargaining provisions, as well as restoring fairness to conciliation and arbitration procedures, as well as a formal commitment to consultation.”

Ms McLennan said unions would continue to be part of joint consultation with the government to ensure Queensland has modern, updated laws that work for everyone.

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