Employers list 157 union rights in Fair Work Bill

News

Employers list 157 union rights in Fair Work Bill

Employer association Ai Group today told a Senate Committee that it was ‘very disappointed’ with the government’s proposed changes to the Fair Work Act (the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013).

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Employer association Ai Group today told a Senate Committee that it was ‘very disappointed’ with the Government’s proposed changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013).

Ai Group was addressing the Senate Committee examining the Bill’s content and objected to it on the ground that it was ‘lopsided’ and did not ‘attempt to strike a balance in addressing issues of concern to employers’.
 
Ai Group maintains in its submission that the Bill extends rights and entitlements to employees and unions in 157 areas including:
  • award penalty rates
  • bullying claims
  • hours of work
  • parental leave
  • right to request flexible work arrangements
  • rosters
  • union right of entry.
The Ai Group submission sets out a number of problems with the Fair Work Act which it says ‘virtually all of the major business groups have identified’: 
  • ‘Narrowing the scope of bargaining claims to matters that fall within the employment relationship;
  • Addressing the greenfields agreement provisions which currently enable unions to hold employers to ransom until their claims are met;
  • Implementing a more workable structure for Individual Flexibility Arrangements (IFAs);
  • Tightening the General Protections to ensure that they operate fairly for all parties; and
  • Addressing problems with the transfer of business laws which are currently inhibiting the restructuring of businesses.’
Another of its objections was that the amendment Bill does not implement last year’s Fair Work Act Review Panel’s recommendations in ‘key areas’, such as:
  • general protections
  • IFAs
  • transfer of business.
The submission goes on to say:
‘In many areas this Bill conflicts with the outcomes of the Fair Work Act Review:
  • The Review Panel did not recommend expanding union entry rights, to give unions a right to hold discussions with employees in lunchrooms;
  • The Panel did not recommend mixing up workplace bullying — an important work health and safety issue — with industrial relations issues;
  • The Panel did not recommend hamstringing the Fair Work Commission in dealing fairly with penalty rates.’
Government responds
 
Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, today denied that the government was handing more power to the unions, but was making changes to the Act to ‘tackle the scourge of workplace bullying’.
 
In answer to a question that the government was providing a lot of extra assistance to workers, but not to business, the Minister said: 
‘What assistance do you think we should be providing for employers that they’re not currently getting?’
 
Post details