Discontent with new IR laws shows they are ‘balanced’: Swan

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Discontent with new IR laws shows they are ‘balanced’: Swan

Despite vigorous attacks on the Federal Government IR legislation from both unions and employers, Treasurer Wayne Swan says there is a consensus that it is ‘a balanced package’.

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Despite vigorous attacks on the Federal Government IR legislation from both unions and employers, Treasurer Wayne Swan says there is a consensus that it is ‘a balanced package’.
 
Appearing on the Alan Jones radio program, Swan was asked whether the IR policies would put extra pressure on the economy and whether he was listening to employers’ complaints.
 
Competing interests
 
‘Well, we are listening to employers, and I think our Industrial Relations Minister, Julia Gillard, managed to bring down a package which satisfied most of the competing interests,’ Swan said.
 
‘Not everybody on either side was happy. You've seen some of the unions striking out, if you like, at parts of the legislation, and there have been some sections of the business community that have expressed some dissatisfaction with parts of the legislation.'
 
Consensus
 
‘But by and large, I think there has been a consensus that this is a balanced packaged — balanced on the one hand between the rights and needs of employees, and on the other hand, between the profitability and flexibility of business.'
 
‘I by and large think it's a pretty good package. There are some submissions coming in from both unions and employers at the moment, which are disputing some elements of the package.'
 
Received a tick
 
‘But I think by and large it's one that's received a tick from both business and workers.’
 
Today the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) called for changes to seven core areas of the legislation, including union right of entry, arbitration, and the right of unions to be covered by agreements where they have only a minority of members.
 
Conflict over arbitration
 
Last week, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) called for the dumping of any arbitration powers from the legislation, while the shopworkers union said that arbitration was ‘fundamental’ to the industrial relations system.
 
The ACTU wants the Federal Government’s IR Bill changed to allow for pattern bargaining with multiple employers and no limit to what can be negotiated in agreements.
 
A Senate Inquiry into the legislation is due to report to Parliament next month.
 
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