Federal minister introduces bill to outlaw pattern bargaining

Cases

Federal minister introduces bill to outlaw pattern bargaining

In a week dominated by the Budget and the MRI scan scam, the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, Mr. Peter Reith today tabled a Bill to amend the Workplace Relations Act 1996.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

In a week dominated by the Budget and the MRI scan scam, the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, Mr. Peter Reith today tabled a Bill to amend the Workplace Relations Act 1996. The Bill will address the practice of Pattern Bargaining.

Pattern bargaining occurs where a union makes the same set of demands on a large number of employers (usually on an industry-wide basis) with the aim of achieving enterprise agreements with common terms at each workplace. It has long been a platform of the federal Government that pattern bargaining undermines Australia's enterprise bargaining system. It is the Government's perception that pattern bargaining delivers inflexible outcomes that fail to account for the needs and circumstances of individual workplaces.

According to a Ministerial Press Release, the Workplace Relations Amendment Bill 2000 introduced into the House of Representatives today will:

  • Restrict access to the right to take protected industrial action so that where, on application by a negotiating party, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission finds that a party is engaging in pattern bargaining it must terminate the bargaining period, rendering industrial action unprotected at law;

  • Enhance the effectiveness of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission's power to issue orders that unlawful industrial action cease or not occur;

  • Give the Australian Industrial Relations Commission a power to order cooling-off periods in respect of protected industrial action where this will assist the resolution of matters in dispute;

  • Protect existing rights to pursue common law remedies in response to unlawful industrial action in Supreme Courts without additional litigation in the form of anti-suit injunctions being sought from or issued by the Federal Court; and

  • Make other minor or technical amendments necessary for the effective operation of the industrial action and compliance provisions of the Act.

The Government seeks to have the Bill passed through Parliament by 1 July 2000. Given the balance of power in the Senate, this will undoubtedly involve discussions and negotiations with the Australian Democrats.

 

Post details