AWAs experienced initial decline, claims academic

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AWAs experienced initial decline, claims academic

The rate of AWAs being taken up declined in April, but recovered in May and June, an industrial relations academic told the Fair Go From Here conference in Sydney yesterday.

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The rate of AWAs being taken up declined in April, but recovered in May and June, an industrial relations academic told the Fair Go From Here conference in Sydney yesterday.

Professor David Peetz said AWAs were being registered at a rate of about 50,000 a month but this figure had 'collapsed' in April this year and although since returning to previous levels it showed 'no signs of a surge' yet above pre-WorkChoices levels.

Reasons for decline

Peetz was asked why AWAs had 'dropped off'.

He said some companies were concerned about the publicity they might get if they imposed AWAs on their workforce.

'Also they are just too complex for employers to figure out what they have to do. If a good relationship is there between the employer and the employees then they won't want to disrupt it.

'AWAs may be of great philosophical importance to the Government, but they aren't to employers.'

Peetz said the decline occurred despite the fact that AWAs 'go through straight away' while union agreements are held up while the OEA checks them for prohibited content.

Peetz said two-thirds of Greenfield agreements were now of the kind where employers 'agree with themselves' over the terms of the agreement, but the number of new Greenfield arrangements had not changed.

Job creation

He said the Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews had argued that the 159,000 jobs created since WorkChoices came in were due to the abolition of unfair dismissals provisions.

However if that was truly the case then the rate of job creation should have fallen when the unfair dismissal laws were first introduced.

'But employment grew faster after they were introduced than it did when they were abolished,' he said.

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