Unions Call on Tony Abbott to Protect Aussie Penalty Rates

Unions from across NSW will join the MUA march in Sydney today, calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to back Australian workers in the dispute between container terminal operator Dubai Ports World and its workforce.

Rally details here.

A key aspect of the dispute centres around Dubai Ports World’s intention to strip new workers of their penalty rates. There are also significant concerns about job security while unemployment has rocketed to a 12-year high.

Since coming to office the Abbott Government has signalled its intention to strip penalty rate entitlements from Australian workers. It is likely Dubai Ports World expects support from Employment Minister Eric Abetz and the federal government.

However, MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said that with workers at Dubai Ports World currently locked out of their workplace at Port Botany, this was the perfect opportunity for Mr Abbott to flip the script.

“The Australian people do not want their working entitlements stripped from them. They do not want foreign-owned employers like Dubai Ports World trying to get rid of penalty rates or see jobs handed over to robots without a proper plan for redundancy,” Mr Smith said.

“This is a perfect opportunity for Mr Abbott to confound expectations and stand with Australian workers against a foreign-owned employer trying to remove their penalty rates.

“Add to this the fact the Government is expected to slash public sector jobs in its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) today and the complete mystery surrounding local jobs being replaced by foreign labour through free trade agreements and you have a recipe for employment disaster.”