CANBERRA, AAP – Anthony Albanese has promised to enshrine job security in workplace law under a plan to make the industrial umpire shore up employment.
The opposition leader will on Wednesday outline a range of industrial relations policies aimed at slashing the burden of insecure work for millions of people.
An elected Labor government would insert job security into the Fair Work Act, forcing the Fair Work Commission to factor the issue into decisions.
Mr Albanese’s major policy speech tries to redraw election battlelines to focus on competing visions for Australia rather than a referendum on the pandemic.
“We are on the side of working families and we will always stand up for your rights to secure jobs, fair pay and safe workplaces,” he will say in Brisbane.
“We understand the country deserves better than a choice between a mediocre status quo and an even worse future.”
Mr Albanese wants to boost rights for gig economy workers like delivery app drivers after five road deaths in the space of three months last year.
The commission would be armed with powers to guarantee minimum standards in pay, superannuation, bargaining rights and access to unfair dismissal claims.
Workers in insecure industries including disability care would be afforded portable annual, sick and long service leave.
Mr Albanese is eyeing a crackdown on back-to-back short-term contracts for the same role.
He proposes a cap of 24 months or no more than two consecutive contracts – whichever comes first.
Once that limit is reached, an employer will be required to offer a permanent part-time or full-time job.
With Morrison government legislation defining casual employment before parliament, Labor is promising to create a test to determine employment status.
In a revival of a 2019 election policy, Mr Albanese also commits to changing workplace law to ensure labour hire workers are paid the same as directly employed counterparts.
Labor has also reaffirmed its pledge to abolish the “union-busting” Registered Organisations Commission and Australian Building and Construction Commission.
The rise of outsourcing and short-term contracts in the federal public service will be audited and steps taken to boost the number of secure roles.
Government contracts to companies and organisations would also be forced to offer more secure jobs.
Mr Albanese warns Prime Minister Scott Morrison of a “heavyweight title fight” if the coalition scraps the legislated rise in the superannuation guarantee.
While shaping for a major battle on the coalition’s industrial relations omnibus bill, Mr Albanese pledges his offer will leave workers better off.
“Resistance to bad change is the job of Labor oppositions. Finding solutions to the big challenges is the mission of Labor governments,” he will say.
“No one left behind. No one held back.”