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Australia: Trade unions unite on national day of protest

Teachers will join workers from all other sectors across Australia today in the national day of protest against radical industrial relations reforms imposed by the government of Prime Minister John Howard.

EI affiliates the Australian Education Union, the Independent Education Union of Australia and the National Tertiary Education Union will join rallies to protest against legislation they believe unfairly curtails workers’ rights, erodes job security and reduces access to unions. The reforms also weaken the powers of the independent Industrial Relations Commission, remove the right to unfair dismissal protection and impose Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) that cut take-home pay and reduce minimum standards. AEU Federal President Pat Byrne said members nationally were deeply concerned: “Education workers across the country are opposed to these unfair and divisive laws. Already we are seeing hard won conditions being stripped away as more and more employers use these provisions.” “Educators will join workers and communities across the country to stand up for the democratic values of justice in the workplace.” “AWA’s are designed to divide people at work and reduce their ability to get a fair deal while taking away their right to basic conditions like meal breaks, holiday pay and long service leave.” “Teachers and education workers across Australia are defending the future workplace rights of our students – the next generation of workers,” said Byrne.

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