Workplace relations bill: details of the agreement 15/11/96

Analysis

Workplace relations bill: details of the agreement 15/11/96

In today’s HR Link, we outline the consequences of the Government/Democrat agreement on industrial action and apprenticeship and traineeship schemes under the proposed federal system.

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In today’s HR Link, we outline the consequences of the Government/Democrat agreement on industrial action and apprenticeship and traineeship schemes under the proposed federal system.

Industrial Action

The original proposal to allow the Commission to give directions to stop or prevent unlawful industrial action remains. In addition, the Commission will now be required to deal with an application as quickly as is practicable.

The Government has however agreed to retain the present provision whereby a party which is subject to industrial action cannot commence an action in tort unless the offending party fails to stop the action within 72 hours (referred to as a ‘cooling off period’).

However, this provision will be amended to provide that the ‘cooling off period’ does not apply where the offending party is in breach of a direction of the Commission. In addition, separate but related periods of industrial action will be regarded cumulatively for the purposes of calculating the ‘cooling off period’. Note that industrial action will be allowed where the parties are involved in negotiating either a certified agreement or an AWA.

Traineeships and Apprenticeships

The Government’s original proposals dealing with the payment of wages to trainees or apprentices was without doubt one of the most misunderstood proposals put forward by the Government. The Bill did not seek to alter current arrangements for skills accreditation, the traineeship, apprenticeship and vocational training systems, nor impact upon them.

The Government’s original proposal simply sought to allow the parties to a traineeship or apprenticeship relationship under a federal agreement to alter the wages payable under the agreement in situations where the parties agree to vary the ratio of training hours compared to the ‘on the job’ hours. This proposal has not been altered by the Government/Democrat agreement.

The agreement has however reduced the discretion the relevant Minister will have in being able to declare an ‘approving authority’. An approving authority will have the power to approve an apprenticeship or traineeship agreement which is seeking to vary the above wage ratio. The Minister will only be able to declare as an ‘approving authority’ any State or Territory Training Authority, any Industry Training Advisory Body or any other body meeting the requirements set out in the regulations.

 

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