Fairness test a 'farce' that is working well

News

Fairness test a 'farce' that is working well

The ACTU says they are a farce, the Labor Party says they are an embarrassment for the Minister, but Joe Hockey reckons they show the system is working well - yesterday's fairness test stats apparently have something for everybody.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The ACTU says they are a farce, the Labor Party says they are an embarrassment for the Minister, but Joe Hockey reckons they show the system is working well - yesterday's fairness test stats apparently have something for everybody.

ACTU Secretary, Jeff Lawrence, said the fairness test report showed 1,000 AWA individual contracts are being signed every day and that one in seven agreements checked so far by the new Govt workplace watchdog have failed the fairness test.

Can't check for rip-offs

'With so many AWAs being signed every day and many of them cutting penalty rates, overtime pay, shift loadings and other award conditions, there is no way the Government can properly check all of them to make sure workers aren't being ripped off,' he said.

Lawrence said the fairness test report shows:

  • The Howard Government's new workplace watchdog has checked only one in 10 of the job contracts to make sure they pass the 'Fairness Test' since it was introduced four months ago.
  • There is massive backlog of more than 110,000 workers who are yet to have their workplace agreements checked by the Workplace Authority.
  • 123,100 workplace agreements have been lodged in the four months since the introduction of the new 'fairness test' on 7 May 2007 and yet only 12,749 assessments (10%) have been finalised.

100,00 backlog 'rubbish', Hockey said

Labor's IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, said the 110,000 backlog was an embarrassment for Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, who on 16 August had said publicly: ' … there is certainly not a backlog of 100,000. That is complete rubbish'.

'The damning statistics reveal that just 6,237 agreements, of more than 100,000, have passed Hockey's so called fairness test,' Gillard said. 'The statistics reveal that just 11,679 agreements in total have completed assessment against the so called fairness test since it came into effect on 7 May 2007.

'At this rate, it will take the Workplace Authority more than 10 months to clear the current backlog.  And that is before the Workplace Authority even starts on the additional 30,000 or so Workplace Agreements being lodged each month.'

'Staggeringly slow progress'

Gillard said this 'staggeringly slow progress' means Australian employers have been 'plunged into a world of uncertainty and tied up with even more red tape just to suit the political interest of the Howard Government'. 

'Businesses could get hit with huge back pay bills when their agreements are finally assessed,' she said.

Test 'is working'

Hockey however welcomed the fairness test statistics, which he said showed the test is working.

'These statistics provide strong evidence that people are not loosing (sic) protected award conditions, such as penalty rates, without proper compensation,' he said. 'There is still a lot of work to do but I am very pleased the Workplace Authority is working closely with employees and employers to administer the stronger safety net for working Australians.

'The Workplace Authority only commenced operations in July, very quickly quadrupled in size and has now had just over a month running at full pace. They have already achieved a great deal in this short period of time.'

Plenty of resources

Hockey conceded there were more than 100,000 agreements not yet processed, but told ABC radio: ' … between 10,000 and 15,000 have been lodged in the last two weeks and even more before that'.

'With an average of 1,200 to 1,500 agreements coming in each day the Workplace Authority, with an extra $360m, together with the Workplace Ombudsman, has plenty of resources to do the job,' he said.

Related

One in 10 AWAs fail fairness test

 

 

Post details