Victorian Trades Hall Council welcomes the passage of laws that will make wage theft a crime in Victoria. This is a critical moment for working people, and unions who have worked tirelessly to ensure wage theft becomes a crime and that bosses are held accountable.
136 workers have been killed at workplaces across Victoria in just the last five years. Tomorrow, bereaved families and unions will place a pair of boots for each life taken at the foot of Parliament: a vivid reminder to members of the Legislative Council of what’s at stake in the upcoming vote on workplace manslaughter laws.
24 people were killed in Victorian workplaces in the last financial year. For decades now, bereaved families have been denied justice and employers continue to operate dodgy businesses after their negligence kills people. Victorian Trades Hall Council welcomes the Workplace Manslaughter Bill that the Andrews Labor Government has introduced into Parliament.
It will provide justice for bereaved families. No longer will their tragedy be relegated to a mere factor in a court room debate about whether a “risk to health and safety” existed. No longer will they be prevented from submitting a victim impact statement.
Today Safe Work Australia had the opportunity to save lives but failed to regulate in the interest of workers' health.
Safe Work Australia's decision to take 3 years to introduce a 0.05mg/m3 standard does nothing to stem the tsunami of silicosis currently sweeping Australian workplaces. This is a decision that flies in the face of recommendations from the Cancer Council, OHS experts in Australian Unions and international scientific research that called for an exposure standard of 0.02mg/m3.Read more
Victorian Trades Hall Council has welcomed the Morrison Government’s arrival at a party the rest of us have been at for years, while noting that it’s well past time for them to leave.
Ahead of what is expected to be one of the largest political rallies in Melbourne’s history, Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Luke Hilakari has warned employers not to interfere with the democratic right of all Australians to protest.
Working people from around the state will join forces to take to the streets and protest rising inequality, falling wages, insecure work and some of the most restrictive industrial laws in the world.
Expert legal advice provided by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers also confirms that employees have the right to participate in lawful activities organised by their union, and are entitled to request annual leave to attend the rally. Refusing a leave request may amount to adverse action under the Fair Work Act, potentially leaving corporate employers liable for a fine of up to $63,000 per contravention.Read more
Workplace health and safety reps applaud Daniel Andrews’ commitment to Industrial Manslaughter legislation
The Victorian Trades Hall Council has applauded Daniel Andrews’ commitment to Industrial Manslaughter legislation as a giant leap towards justice for the families of workers killed by unsafe workplace practices.
The laws announced by Labor today would ensure that when a company’s negligence kills a worker, those responsible could be held criminally responsible and face punishment. At present, even companies found guilty of serious negligence only face fines.
Quotes attributable: Luke Hilakari, Victorian Trades Hall Council
“Right now, business is treating the injuries and deaths of Victorian workers as just a cost of doing business.”
“But when a worker dies, more than just one life is destroyed. Entire families and communities are torn apart, and workmates carry the trauma for the rest of their lives. That is the true cost of neglecting workers’ safety concerns. It is fundamentally unjust that those in charge just pay a fine and move on.”
“Industrial manslaughter laws will mean those responsible for workplace deaths can be held accountable, and ultimately that will mean workers’ safety concerns carry greater weight. That will have a huge impact on safety.”
“We welcome this announcement from Daniel Andrews. Industrial manslaughter laws will make Victorian workplaces safer for everyone.”
“Nobody should die at work. These laws signal that workers’ lives can’t just be written off on a balance sheet in Victoria.
“We call on Matthew Guy to match the Labor Party’s commitment and support Industrial Manslaughter legislation”
Victorian Trades Hall Council and the Young Workers Centre have welcomed the Andrews Government’s commitment to making Wage Theft a crime in Victoria.
Quotes attributable: Keelia Fitzpatrick, Young Workers Centre Coordinator
“Young workers deserve and should expect the protection of the law, just like everyone else. Wage theft is fundamentally exploitative and unjust, and it is absolutely appropriate that it should be treated like any other crime.”
“No-one deserves to have their hard-earned wages stolen by their boss. The Andrews Government’s support for wage theft criminalisation means justice is within reach for thousands and thousands of young Victorians.”
“Until now, bosses who steal from their employees have thumbed their noses at the law. Workers who experience wage theft have been too afraid to speak up. Wage theft has become so normalised that some young people don’t actually know what it’s like to be paid correctly. So this announcement from Premier Andrews is absolutely a game changer.”
Quotes attributable: Luke Hilakari, Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council
“Thanks to Premier Andrews, wage theft is off the menu in Victoria.”
“This announcement is a warning to bad bosses; wage theft is a crime, and if you steal from workers you will face criminal charges. Victoria does not tolerate stealing from working people.”
“And for tens of thousands of businesses who are doing the right thing, this announcement will bring relief from being under-cut by shonky operators.”
“The rules have not been protecting Victorian workers from having their wages stolen, so the rules need to change. We look forward to working with the Andrews Government to do that”.
“We call on Mathew Guy and the Liberal Party to get serious on the rampant wage theft blighting Victoria, and follow Premier Andrews’ lead on this issue.”
More than 50 thousand people are expected to fill the streets of Melbourne tomorrow (9/05/2018). Usual traffic will be brought to a halt by a sea of working Victorians demanding change.
Marchers will assemble for a 10am start at Victorian Trades Hall Council on the corner of Victoria and Lygon streets, and from 10.30am will start marching towards the Magistrates Court on William Street. The march will then proceed to the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets.
Traffic in the city is likely to be disrupted from 9am – 1pm as more than 50,000 Victorians call for political change.
Quotes attributable, Luke Hilakari:
“This many people don’t take mass action every day, and we don’t take it without a very good reason. The rules aren’t working for working people. Ordinary people don’t feel that Malcolm Turnbull is listening. So we are using people power, we are forcing the politicians and big business to listen.
“Over 50,000 people marching peacefully through the city is something the politicians can’t ignore. This is the people of Victoria saying enough: something must change”.
“Tonight, Malcolm Turnbull will hand down an election budget that will include tax cuts for big business and cuts to the vital public services that working people rely on. That’s not what people want. We want good, secure jobs, quality education and training, and a world class public healthcare system. Australia needs a pay rise; we need wages that sustain a family and we need women’s work to be valued equally. We demand laws that keep workers safe on the job. We want our penalty rates back. And we need an industrial relations system that puts the power back in workers’ hands. Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t get it, and that’s why he’s got to go”.
“Tomorrow, working people are standing up and fighting back. We’re going to change the rules”
9.45am - In front of the 8 Hour Day Monument (Cnr Russel and Victoria Streets): Media conference with Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Luke Hilakari
10.15am Outside Trades Hall (Cnr Lygon and Victoria Streets): Welcome to country and speeches including Luke Hilakari
11.15am Outside Magistrates Court (233 William Street): Speeches including ETU Victoria State Secretary Troy Gray and Plumbers Union State Secretary Earl Setches
12.20pm Intersection Flinders and Swantson Streets: Speeches including ACTU Secretary Sally McManus and workers from ESSO Longford and early childhood education
1pm - End of rally