Employers should not use new award system as excuse to cut pay: ACTU

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Employers should not use new award system as excuse to cut pay: ACTU

In response to a possible High Court challenge by employers to award modernisation and guaranteed wage rates, the ACTU has called on employers not to use the new award system as an excuse to cut pay.

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In response to a possible High Court challenge by employers to award modernisation and guaranteed wage rates, the ACTU has called on employers not to use the new award system as an excuse to cut pay.
 
The National Retailers Association is arguing that Fair Work Australia's jurisdiction in award modernisation has been compromised by IR Minister Gillard’s request that the process should not disadvantage employees or employers.
 
The ACTU sees this possible challenge as an attack on wage rates and has called on employers not use the new award system as an excuse to cut workers’ pay and conditions.
 
‘No workers should be worse off’
 
Unions are concerned that some unscrupulous employers are gearing up to cut pay and conditions following the introduction of the modernised award system.
 
ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said unions were determined that no workers would be left worse off and will pursue every possible avenue to maintain wages and conditions, including legal action.
 
‘There is a long tradition of above award wages in Australian workplaces and we would expect reputable employers to maintain workers’ pay under the new system.’
 
‘But where employers take advantage of the transition arrangements to the new modern awards, the legislation is quite clear that employees should not suffer a cut to take-home pay.’
 
‘The legislation has remedies for unscrupulous business behaviour and unions will vigorously pursue legal action, including Take-Home Pay Orders to maintain workers’ pay. Any workers who find their pay reduced should contact their relevant union for help and advice,’ Lawrence said.
 
‘Workers should also consider collective bargaining to safeguard and improve wages and conditions,’ Lawrence added.
 
Lawrence said a proposed High Court challenge to the award modernisation system by the National Retail Association was derisory.
 
‘Businesses should just get on with the job of operating in the new system and stop wasting time on frivolous exercises like this proposed High Court challenge,’ Lawrence concluded.
 
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