ACTU president Ged Kearney.
ACTU president Ged Kearney. MICK Tsikasaap

Fair work changes could take away workers' rights, ACTU

A UNION body chief is not surprised a Senate committee has approved changes to Fair Work legislation.

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said the proposed changes, which would now go to the Senate, would take away workers' rights.

Ms Kearney said the Fair Work Amendment (Bargaining Processes) Bill would give employers more power to remove current protections around casual and contract workers, working hours and dispute resolution.

The committee's report said the current Fair Work Act did not explicitly require, or encourage, employees to consider productivity requirements when negotiating agreements with employers.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce submitted that this caused a barrier to productivity improvement.

But in a submission, the ACTU said the bill sought to reduce the number of lawful strikes and stop collective agreements being approved.

It said the government should not impose more illegitimate and unwarranted obligations on workers and unions.