The Democratic Labour Party upholds workplace relations policies built upon the principles of:
- a decent and secure livelihood for all through wage justice, fair rewards for enterprise, and adequate social security; and
- limits upon the concentrations of power in both corporate business and trade unions.
The DLP believes in an integrated and comprehensive programme covering wages, social services and social welfare.
As a principle, the DLP believes a minimum wage should be based on the reasonable needs of a family comprising a couple with two children.
Portable Leave Scheme
Sick leave and carers leave entitlements should be protected by a Portable Leave Scheme which enables workers to ‘bank’ their leave credits. Workers can then transfer their entitlements to a new employer instead of the current situation where the leave entitlements are lost once an employee ceases work with each employer.
Long Service Leave should be an entitlement attached to hours worked and should also be ‘banked’ under the Portable Leave Scheme. It should be an entitlement of all workers including casuals and would be available for access by employees every 10 years.
The DLP favours preference to unionists in the workplace because it:
- assists in maintaining a peaceful and cooperative workplace;
- spreads the responsibility of all workers to share in the cost to the unions of the compulsory arbitration from which all workers benefit; and
- enables trade unions and the Arbitration system to function more efficiently.
No union should allow power to be monopolised within one group or faction.
Voting systems in unions must safeguard the democratic rights and proprietary interests of individual unionists to ensure legitimate authority in maintained within the union movement.
Conciliation and Arbitration
The DLP believes in a return to the system that existed under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to safeguard the following principles that:
- Unions are an expression of the basic right of wage earners
- Union organisation should not be weakened by legislation
- Unions are a necessary foundation of the Conciliation and Arbitration system
The DLP will reintroduce the Conciliation and Arbitration Act with amendments to include preference for unionist clauses with the following conditions:
- That unions do not impose compulsory political levies
- That unions allow members the right to contract without paying political affiliation fees
- That unions establish a voluntary fund from which all donations to political parties are made
The DLP believes the Constitution should be altered to remove the restrictions on the ability of the Commonwealth to intervene in interstate disputes.
The majority of Australian workers still favour increased purchasing power over increased leisure.
The realities of seeking to maintain full employment and increasing living standards in an era of rapidly changing work environments and technological advances requires that policy on working hours be altered to ensure that:
- Job opportunities exist for new entries into the work force
- All workers are gradually introduced into leisure at no economic cost
- Leisure in the intermediate years is sufficiently concentrated to be of real value to employees
The DLP prefers a policy which would allow additional pay for annual leave, substantially increased long service leave, and increased leisure for workers in the latter part of their working life. This would be financed out of a levy on industry, and would include options of an early retirement without economic loss.
Technological changes and the workforce
Benefits which flow from the technological changes designed to improve productivity should be shared equitably and not remain solely with employers.
Legislation should be introduced to require employers to give notice of proposals to introduce technological changes; such legislation will provide that no substantial changes affecting the economy of any geographical area and number of workers can be introduced without Government approval. Such approval will require as a priority that the technological changes be so planned and phased as to minimise these effects.
The following code should govern the introduction of technological changes:
- Joint consultation to begin at the planning stage when such changes are proposed, whether they be mechanisation of a process or introduction of semi-automated or automated methods
- Immediate implementation of an improved scheme to train workers made redundant by technological changes, by agreement with the union(s) concerned
- Severance pay for retrenched workers to be determined through negotiation with union(s)
- Payment of pro rata sick leave and long service leave or provision for its portability to a new employer
- Where possible, employers are to assist retrenched employees in obtaining adequate suitable employment
- Make up pay, up to the rate of pay received prior to retrenchment, to be provided until retrenched workers secure new employment, or during the period of retraining – whichever is the shorter
- Compensation by employers to employees for loss of equity in homes where employees are forced to transfer to a new locality to obtain employment
- Payment by employers of lost time, fares and removal expenses where retrenched workers are required to take work in other locations