President ‘extraordinarily disappointed’ with out of date awards

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President ‘extraordinarily disappointed’ with out of date awards

President Fisher today labelled as ‘bewildering’ the long running failure of some union management in NSW to act with ‘vigour’ in ensuring that their State awards are kept up to date.

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President Fisher today labelled as ‘bewildering’ the long running failure of some union management in NSW to act with ‘vigour’ in ensuring that their State awards are kept up to date.

During today’s morning session of the State Wage Case, President Fisher asked Labor Council Secretary, Mr Peter Sams, whether the parties to the case proposed to have out of date State awards (ie awards which do not reflect one or more of the three recent Safety Net $8 Adjustment decisions, or test case clauses such as retrenchment pay and parental leave) brought up to date by means of a general order of the Commission or by application of the parties.

Mr Sams submitted that the parties preferred awards to be brought up to date through application by the award parties as opposed to a general order.

President Fisher responded by stating the Commission’s view that it was ‘extraordinarily disappointed’ that wage review decisions and other test case award clauses have not been passed on to all State awards.

President Fisher referred to his recent experience whereby he had been requested to approve an award dealing with the pastoral sector which did not contain, among other things, a parental leave clause. President Fisher further evidenced the Fruit Growing Industries Employees (State) Award as being years out of date, and that the relevant employees were seriously underpaid even though that award is ‘not a notably generous award’.

President Fisher accordingly viewed it as ‘bewildering’ that union management have not acted with more ‘vigour’ on this issue.

Labor Council Secretary, Mr Peter Sams, responded by saying: ‘Some unions are better than others, your Honour’.

President Fisher concluded this interchange by demanding that before the State Wage Case concludes, the Full Bench will need to be given assurances that all State awards will be brought up to date.

Interestingly, both of the awards the President referred to have, as their major organisational parties, the State Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Workers’ Union. Clearly, the President’s comments will be of serious concern to the Farmers Federation who are arguing against any wage increase at all. As one observer to the Case stated ‘it’s taken the Farmers’ years to get their awards this far behind!’

 Whether the AWU is even in a position to know what is going on outside of its own walls is another question altogether.

 

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