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Attack on women workers in Australia
indonesia / philippines / australia | gender | other libertarian press Saturday June 17, 2006 14:35 by Joseph Toscano
The new IR laws
The Howard government’s Workplace Relations (IR) laws will have a profound effect on female employees, because it is specifically directed at casual, part-time, non unionised workers. It is no accident that Spotlight has been able to offer its new staff 2cents an hour to ‘compensate’ them for the loss of overtime and leave loading payments. The meat workers at Cowra were able to fight off the company’s attempts to do the same to them because they were able to mobilise public opinion through their unions.
Women provide the bulk of part-time, casual, non unionised staff. The new legislation will force them back into the home because increasing childcare costs will make it uneconomical to continue working. Those that continue to work, will have to rely on babysitting facilities provided by mothers, aunts and friends. This new legislation will force more and more retired women to abandon a quiet retirement and become free babysitters for their families. Already retired couples, mainly women, are finding the burden of babysitting is falling on their shoulders because their children cannot afford to work and pay the necessary childcare fees.
The Workplace legislation will have a devastating effect on women and retirees. It will turn casual, part-time workers into virtual slaves who will be forced to work increasingly long hours to make ends meet. It will force more and more retirees to give up any plans of retirement. It will also have a devastating effect on family life, especially the lives led by children because they will be see less and less of their parents. Single parents will be hard hit by this new legislation. Forced to look for work once their children reach school age, they will find that unless they have solid family backing that their health and the health of their children will suffer under this draconian piece of legislation.
The Howard government’s pro family rhetoric is just that, rhetoric. Family First’s pro family rhetoric is also just rhetoric. This new legislation will have a profound effect on the most vulnerable members of our community. It needs to be actively resisted by all sections of society. Women, single parents, their children and grandparents will have the most to lose from this legislation. That is why it is imperative that the struggle to overturn the Workplace Relations laws is taken up by all sections of society, not just the trade unions.
Republished from "Anarchist Age Weekly Review" No 695