ITEAs a ‘bandaid’ — look to the long-term, say lawyers

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ITEAs a ‘bandaid’ — look to the long-term, say lawyers

ITEAs are a short-term bandaid solution and employers should now start planning ahead for the long-term, according to Wayne Spanner, a partner at the law firm Deacons.

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ITEAs are a short-term bandaid solution and employers should now start planning ahead for the long-term, according to Wayne Spanner, a partner at the law firm Deacons.

Spanner said that with existing AWAs potentially operative until 2013, ‘the final death-rattle of the former Government’s IR reforms won’t reverberate immediately’.

‘However their ghostly presence will influence the new Individual Transitional Employment Agreements (ITEAs) that will be available until 31 December 2009,’ he said.

Spanner said the proclamation of the Rudd Government’s Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008, will complete the abolition of Australian Workplace Agreements and, while existing AWAs will remain operative potentially until 2013, employers cannot offer new AWAs once the Act is proclaimed.

‘Short-term bandaid’

‘It is all about ITEAs now but they are a short-term bandaid solution,’ said Deacons’ partner, Wayne Spanner. ‘Employers should be planning ahead to effectively manage and plan their longer term industrial relations strategy beyond ITEAs to ensure they remain competitive.’

Leanne Nickels, a partner in Deacons’ Perth practice who has clients in the mining sector said the mining industry will welcome one of the last-minute amendments to the Bill which will allow them to offer ITEAs to former employees.

‘Without the amendment, employers would have been restricted to offering these agreements to only new or existing employees - a difficult and restrictive solution for the mining industry where workers often move in and out of jobs with the same employers,’ she said.

Collective arrangements

Deacons’ Brisbane partner, Martin Osborne, said: ‘While AWAs will be gone as an option, the Government has made it clear it intends to keep current arrangements for the Building and Construction Industry, including the retention of the National Code for the Construction Industry and Implementation Guidelines until at least January 2010.

‘Anyone who is in the construction industry will now find their options reduced for becoming or staying compliant because of the limitations on using ITEAs.'

‘These organisations might need to start looking at alternative collective arrangements.’


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