Bishops lobby to protect workers in industrial relations laws

.- Australia’s Catholic bishops are hoping to influence the debate in Parliament about the proposed changes to the country’s industrial relations laws.

The bishops’ concerns focus on the setting of the minimum wage and how low paid workers will be able to meet the needs of their families into the future, said John Ryan of Australia’s Catholic Bishops Conference.

The bishops are also addressing the country’s unfair dismissal laws. “We believe that every worker has a right to seek redress for unfair dismissal and the no-disadvantage test – the new minimum standards – aren't adequate in our view to provide workers with a level playing field for bargaining,” said Ryan.

“Our real concern is for those workers currently employed and unemployed, who don't have marketable skills, who don't have bargaining power, who are industrially weak or inexperienced, and who will possibly struggle to be able to strike a bargain if there's not a level playing field,” Ryan said.

The Catholic bishops have joined Anglican Church leaders in calling for more time to amend the bill and intend to meet with Senator Barnaby Joyce and with the Minister to discuss amendments. Joyce is on record for saying that paid public holidays should be protected and big business should not to be allowed to avoid the unfair dismissal laws.

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