Lingering AWAs ‘will die of old age’, says Gillard

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Lingering AWAs ‘will die of old age’, says Gillard

IR Minister Julia Gillard has admitted that technically AWAs could go on ‘forever’, but points out that they would soon be out of date and at least one side would want a change to something new.

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IR Minister Julia Gillard has admitted that technically AWAs could go on ‘forever’, but points out that they would soon be out of date and at least one side would want a change to something new.

Opposition IR spokeswoman Julie Bishop last week said in a TV interview that Labor was not abolishing AWAs because they could continue even when expired.

Gillard told ABC radio that Labor’s policy on AWAs was published last August and ‘while it might be new to Bishop it wouldn’t be to anybody else in the country’.

‘What that policy said is like all industrial agreements, AWAs that are on the foot now will continue for the balance of their term and then beyond that people can make a decision about what they want to do in Labor’s new system,’ she said.

Can’t be renegotiated

Interviewer: ‘So let me clarify that, so we all understood for the balance of their term but after that a thing called AWAs can still be in existence, it can be re-negotiated between an employer and employee.’

Gillard: ‘Oh no, it can’t be re-negotiated. Standard industrial relations law provides that when you make an agreement you have to have an expiry date.'

‘If the expiry date comes and goes and you don’t do anything, than the agreement persists until you do something. So that is obviously part of our industrial relations law to stop people falling off the edge of agreements into an abyss.’

Interviewer: ‘So there can be something called AWAs be in existence in say, 2020?’

Gillard: ‘Oh well that’s really an absurd example in this sense: if you had an AWA which was to expire, let’s pick a date, at the end of next year.'

‘If you did nothing then that exactly same AWA would last in January and February but obviously that AWA would be ageing, its terms would be getting out of date, it would no longer be what you wanted, it would probably no longer be what your employer wanted. So then you would come together and you would negotiate what it is that you wanted to do next.’

Terminate before expiry

Gillard said people can also agree to terminate their AWA before it expires ‘if their employer and they [employees] agree that the best course is not to be on an industrial instrument that is going out of the system but to make some new decisions’.


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