FWC to lose independence?

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FWC to lose independence?

Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz is seeking employer support for introducing an appeals body for the Fair Work Commission. And employers appeal the hospitality penalty rates decision.

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Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz is seeking employer support for introducing an appeals body for the Fair Work Commission, according to media reports on the weekend.
 
The Coalition’s industrial relations policy, which it took to the election, flagged that it would give ‘active consideration to the creation of an independent appeal jurisdiction’.
 
Australian Council of Trade Unions President Ged Kearney said that this attempt to amend the FWC’s decisions ‘is another attempt to strip back workers’ rights’.
 
‘There is no reason for the Abbott Government to bring in an appeals body unless it wants to reduce the power of the Fair Work Commission and make it easier for business to implement its agenda to cut wages and conditions’, Ms Kearney said.
 
Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor said it ‘would undermine the integrity of the entire Fair Work system, putting rights and entitlements at risk’.
 
Penalty rates appeal by employers
 
Exactly the sort of decision that the government would like to see appealed beyond the Commission is its decision last month to reject employers’ application to reduce penalty rates and minimum award wage rates. Hospitality employers have now launched an appeal against a single Commissioner’s rejection of employer applications to remove award penalty rates for weekend work and for weekday work performed after 10 pm.
 
Responding to the appeal, Louise Tarrant, National Secretary of United Voice, the hospitality union, said ‘why [do] restaurant and catering employers think it is appropriate to appeal the independent umpire’s fourth decision in five years’, and labelled the appeal as ‘a cynical attention seeking stunt’.
 
The appeal was lodged by the Restaurant and Catering Association of Victoria.
 
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