Workers won’t accept pay cuts: union boss

Image of ACTU secretary Sally McManus
ACTU secretary Sally McManus (Source: ACTU website)

Workers won’t stand for permanent pay cuts as the Australian economy recovers from the coronavirus, the nation’s top union boss says.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus will tell an economic forum in Canberra on Tuesday permanent cuts to workers’ rights and pay is dangerous and will damage confidence, hindering recovery efforts.

“We will not have the legacy of this pandemic reverberate onto the next generation. Young people are already hardest hit, along with women and we cannot pass watered-down rights to the next generation,” she will say.

“You can’t cut your way to recovery. Australian workers know this.

“We are keen to partner with anyone who understands that the only way to build a stronger economy is also about making it a fairer economy.”

The CEDA event will focus on job security, wage growth, workplace safety and local manufacturing.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says ensuring businesses invest in Australia is key to helping the economy.

The government is looking at tax incentives, deregulation, better access to export markets and flexible workplace arrangements.

“We’ve got to find ways to give business the confidence to invest and to hire more Australians again,” Senator Cormann told Seven’s Sunrise.

“We’ve got to make it easier for business to be successful and profitable into the future so they can hire more Australians.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the forum on Monday that keeping wage subsidies and other support measures in place for too long would damage the super-charged growth Australia needs to escape the crisis.

He conceded more jobs would be lost and businesses would collapse once those supports are wound back.

The JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme is legislated until September but is in the midst of a review.

The scheme has ended early for the child care sector, which the government has moved on to a separate support plan.

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