Skip navigation
We Are Union VTHC
We Are Union Journal
News from the working class
Why every apprentice should join their union

Secure Jobs, Better Pay

Last week, the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill passed through the federal parliament.

While the legislation isn’t everything unions wanted, it will modernise bargaining in Australia and help to get wages moving. 


Last week, the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill passed through the federal parliament.

While the legislation isn’t everything union members wanted, it will modernise bargaining in Australia and help to get wages moving. 

Here are some key things the legislation will make happen.

Get wages moving

Too many Australians have had to pick up a second job to make ends meet and one in four people resorted to skipping meals.

There has been ten years of record low wage growth and 18 months of deep real wage cuts. It’s unacceptable.

With these new laws we will get wages moving again. We can ensure no worker is left behind and make work fairer by providing employees access to the benefits of multi-employer bargaining.

Ban pay secrecy

The new rules will end  pay secrecy clauses that stop employees at a company from discussing how they much get paid with each other. This is a major victory, especially for women workers, as gender pay inequality is exacerbated in industries with high levels of pay secrecy.

Remove barriers to gender pay equality

Women earn on average $472 less a week than men – a gap that is slowly getting worse. Making it easier for workers to bargain collectively is proven to reduce the pay gap.

The legislation will also establish two new Fair Work Commission panels– one for the care and community sector and one on pay equity.

Help prevent sexual harassment and discrimination at work

Two in five women have experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years.

This Bill will deliver the final legislative recommendations from the [email protected] report, meaning workers will have stronger protection from sexual harassment under industrial relations laws.

Expand access to flexible rostering arrangements

People juggling care and work have no meaningful right to require their employer to help them balance those responsibilities.

Secure Jobs Better Pay seeks to address this by requiring employers to try to reach agreement with workers, and by giving workers a right of review in the Fair Work Commission when requests are refused.

Limit the use of fixed-term contracts

In Australia, there is nothing to stop an employer from endlessly rolling over fixed-term contracts, and many do.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Burke, described these rolling fixed-term contracts as amounting to “a permanent probation period for employees”.

The legislation will limit the use of fixed-term contracts by introducing fines for employers who keep employees on rolling fixed-term contracts in certain circumstances.

Ban job ads that advertise below minimum rates of pay

It will now be an offence to advertise employment that pays below the minimum wage. Advertisements for jobs where a piece-rate applies must specify that piece rate.

Terminate WorkChoices “zombie” agreements

A Zombie Agreement is a contract that has passed its nominal expiry date but continues to operate. Workers in some industries are still on contracts signed under “Work Choices” legislation, potentially losing hundreds of dollars per shift.

Abolish the ABCC

The legislation abolishes the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which existed for the sole purpose of attacking construction workers and their unions.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said “Workers and their representatives shouldn’t be harassed by a body that wastes taxpayers’ money on trivial nonsense like what stickers a worker might have on their helmet or whether a union logo might appear in a safety sign.”


It has taken years of campaigning from thousands of workers in union to win these changes. As a union member, you should be proud of your contribution to workers’ rights in Australia – you’re contributing to a proud legacy for the next generation.  

Together, we will continue to fight for better pay and conditions for workers.

31 Jan
4pm -
Come along to the Injured Workers Support Network social hangout. This...
1 Feb
**  Please note, this course will be held in 2 parts...
Victorian Trades Hall Council, Carlton
1 Feb
12:30pm -
I just signed up to the International Women's Day online planning...
4 Feb
10am -
Interested in a trade career? Women Onsite is excited to announce...
Norm Warehouse
14 lewis st coburg, Melbourne, VIC 3058, Australia,