A win for electrical workers at the federal election 2022

After 10 years of an anti-worker right-wing government, the Australian people have finally voted for change.

The ETU threw its support behind the Labor party during this election campaign because of their commitments to make life better for working people, their families and their communities. Over the last nine years, the coalition government consistently sought to reduce workers’ rights, wages and conditions. They sought to silence unions and rarely consulted in good faith with workers’ representatives.

The new Labor government, however, routinely consults with unions and listens to working people and their communities about how they can improve their quality of life. These are some of the promises that Labor has made:

Abolish the ABCC

Instead of spending millions of dollars to fine construction unions for minor infractions, the government’s focus should be on stamping out wage theft or sham contracting in the construction industry and addressing worksite safety and deaths. Abolishing the ABCC will stop protecting dodgy companies from infringing on workers’ rights. Labour has also committed to make wage theft a criminal offence.

Abolish the Building Code

The Building Code actively prevents having minimum quotas of workers on government projects like apprentices and women. Instead, the Labor government has committed to ensuring that one in ten workers on a public project is an apprentice, trainee or cadet. This will help build up the workforce of the future and create more jobs for our apprentices.

Increase secure employment and address labour hire

The new government will ensure that government contracts are being used to support secure employment. It will also enshrine secure work as an objective of the Fair Work Act, putting job security at the heart of its decision-making. It’ll ensure that workers employed through labour hire companies receive no less pay than workers employed directly.

Invest in the energy industries

Labor will create 604,000 secure jobs with good wages and working conditions in the energy industries, provide $20B to upgrade the electricity grid, make electric vehicles cheaper and build the charging infrastructure needed for electrical vehicles. They’ll also invest in and develop the offshore wind industry, creating good jobs and tackling emissions.

Increase jobs in Australian manufacturing and defence

The government will invest in Australian manufacturing for new industries, make more things like trains, trams and ferries in Australia, prioritise local jobs in defence contracts and create a local defence manufacturing sector and prioritise Australian manufacturing businesses in government contracts.  

Fix the NBN

Labor will Give 90% of Australians access to world-class gigabit speeds by 2025 and keep the NBN publicly owned.

Invest in skills and training

Labor will create 465,000 fee free TAFE places – including 45,000 new places, invest $50m in better technology on campuses and strengthen our public education system. They will create 10,000 new places for energy apprentices and establish a $10 million New Energy Skills Program to work with industry, unions and the states and territories to ensure training pathways are fit-for-purpose.

Protect major project agreements

Labor will ensure that workers’ conditions like rosters can still be negotiated at a minimum every four years during the life of a major project.

Protect workers from sexual harassment in the workplace

Labor will implement all 55 recommendations of the Respect@work report which places a positive responsibility on employers to reduce sexual harassment in the workplace.

The ETU will be holding the government to account on all of these promises, and making sure that they deliver a better future for workers.

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This article was publised on 30 May 2022.