Economic crisis and fair work

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Economic crisis and fair work

The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) today launched a $400,000 TV election ad campaign to highlight the seriousness of the global financial crisis and its impact on Queensland jobs. Meanwhile, changes to be introduced by the Fair Work legislation will be the major topic at Informa’s Workplace Relations Summit on 30–31 March at the Sydney Harbour Marriott.

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The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) today launched a $400,000 TV election ad campaign to highlight the seriousness of the global financial crisis and its impact on Queensland jobs. Meanwhile, changes to be introduced by the Fair Work legislation will be the major topic at Informa’s Workplace Relations Summit on 30–31 March at the Sydney Harbour Marriott.
 
Qld unions launch TV election ads on economic crisis
 
The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) today launched a $400,000 TV election ad campaign to highlight the seriousness of the global financial crisis and its impact on Queensland jobs.
 
The campaign backs Premier Anna Bligh, who last week announced an election to be held on 21 March. The latest opinion poll shows her running neck and neck with Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg.
 
‘Tough times’
 
QCU general secretary Ron Monaghan said that it was important for unions to let Queensland workers know ‘who was best to lead them through the tough times’.
 
‘This election is about protecting and creating jobs during the global financial crisis — a crisis Springborg has said “is only peripheral to what’s happening in Queensland”,’ he said.
 
Real concerns
 
Monaghan said the campaign reflects real concerns of workers in industries where thousands of jobs have already been lost.
 
‘The global financial crisis is real and is cutting a swathe through jobs in mining, construction, manufacturing and hospitality,’ he said.
 
Protect jobs
 
‘Now is the time for governments to protect jobs, not cut them as the LNP plans.'
 
‘Lawrence Springborg has said he will “front-end” public sector jobs that are “de-necessary” [sic] and only assess positions which are vacated by natural attrition.'
 
‘Around 12,000 public servants retire, transfer or resign annually — is Springborg saying he’ll put these jobs on the scrap heap — especially in the current economic climate?’
 
 
Fair Work Bill — focus of March Workplace Relations Summit
 
Meanwhile, changes to be introduced by the Fair Work legislation will be the major topic at Informa’s Workplace Relations Summit on 30–31 March at the Sydney Harbour Marriott.
 
Representatives from industry, government, unions and the legal profession will share their thoughts on the Bill.
 
The Rudd Government’s Fair Work Bill promises to create a fairer system for employers and workers. Various submissions are currently being made at the Senate hearing, as the Federal Parliament's Employment and Workplace Relations Committee is due to hand in its report on the Bill by the end of the month.
 
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson’s submission made the case for industry leaders.
 
'From a business point of view, a regulatory clean-up that involves hundreds of thousands of employers, which has the prospect of imposing quite significant costs, is going to be the single most regressive aspect of the reform agenda.'
 
This view was supported by The Australian Retailers Association’s executive director, Richard Evans, who warned that the law would create uncertainty for employees of small retailers.
 
'Fair Work Australia's ultimate ability to determine the terms and conditions of employment is a costly load that will cripple SME retailers unless they alter their workforce by shifting full-time workers to casual and part-time employment.'
 
While this line was probably to be expected from the business community, the unions seem divided between two camps, a left wing coalition on one side and the ACTU on the other.
 
'There is no doubt that the very best legal advice says the Fair Work Bill fails Australia's basic human rights and that the Federal Government has been too heavily swayed by employers,' stated Dean Mighell, the Victorian secretary of the Electrical Trades Union.
 
Sharan Burrow, the president of the ACTU took an opposing view.
 
'Certainly, on balance, in terms of freedom of association, the right to organise and bargain collectively, the right to be free from discrimination, child labour and forced labour, Work Choices didn't meet those tests. This Bill, in general, on balance, goes to put those rights back in place.'
 
Peter Anderson, CEO of Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will further discuss the industry’s response to the Fair Work Bill and analyse whether the new legislation meets industry expectations. He will also touch on implications for the introduction of additional workplace regulation and labour costs and how to understand the transitional arrangements. Peter will also take part in a round table entitled 'The balancing act: union/employer engagement' that will also include Richard Calver, national director — Industrial Relations, Master Builders Association; Jeff Lawrence, national secretary, ACTU; and Henry Skene, partner, Arnold Bloch Leibler.
 
For more information visit the Informa website. or phone +61 2 9080 4307.
 
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