Trade unions need to look for change beyond legislation

Danny Glover addressing the ACTU Congress on July 16 2018

The 2018 Congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACT) is happening in the middle of a campaign to “Change the Rules”.  These “Rules” are largely concerning with industrial relations, of which Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is a subset, or complementary, element. Legislation constantly needs challenging and review; much legislation, like Australian Standards, misses their expiry dates and persists too long,  becoming increasingly seen as irrelevant.

OHS has the “luxury” of having been reviewed nationally within the last decade.  For some Australian States this change was progressive but for most it was a catch up to contemporary standards and expectations.  OHS laws have not progressed since and a lot of hope is placed on the current Independent Review of Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws to enliven the discussions, yet that report is not due until 2019.

Trade unions have a great deal of faith in legislation to achieve change.  

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Exclusive reports from the 2018 ACTU Congress

SafetyAtWorkBlog will be reporting from the biennial Congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. For the first time   Trade unions have been pivotal for the creation and enforcement of occupational health and safety (OHS) around the world.

Most of the past reporting on these events in mainstream media has focused on politics and industrial relations.  OHS tends to get overlooked so SafetyAtWorkBlog’s attendance will be important.

Articles from the Congress will be available only to Subscribers. Continue reading “Exclusive reports from the 2018 ACTU Congress”

Factbook, short on OHS facts

The Australia Institute has released a “factbook” about The Dimensions of Insecure Work.  It is little more than a snapshot of some of the labour situations in Australia centring on the fact that

“Less than half of employed Australians now hold a “standard” job: that is, a permanent full-time paid job with leave entitlements”

This changed demographic is significant whenever the Government or its departments and agencies take about job and employment figures.  The reliance on full time employment as the core metric should be reviewed and revised but this is likely to change our view of the world through official reports . 

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The good, the odd and the ignorant

One of the Select Committees of the Australian Senate is conducting an inquiry into the “Future of Work and Workers” and is currently holding public hearings.  There is a lot of interesting information that will affect how workplace health and safety is managed and there are some odd statements in the public submissions.  However, it was the appearance of Airtasker’s CEO at a public hearing on May 4, that is genuinely scary.

Job Design

Firstly a positive statement from the

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Fixing the future by planning for the future

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) often sets the occupational health and safety (OHS) agenda, as it did on workplace stress and bullying.  On 21 May 2018 the ACTU released a research report entitled “Australia’s insecure work crisis: Fixing it for the future“.  The opening paragraph provides a clear indication of the report’s tone:

“The incidence of non-standard work in Australia is alarming. The fact that our national government and some employer groups seek to deny this reality and refuse to support reforms to better protect workers in insecure non-standard employment is a disgrace.”

There is a lot of useful information in this report but there is also a lot missing, a lot that could affect workplace safety.

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