Govt, employers press Labor on bargaining fees

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Govt, employers press Labor on bargaining fees

The Federal Government and a leading business organisation are continuing to attack Labor over bargaining fees for non-unionists, despite the ALP saying it would outlaw such fees.

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The Federal Government and a leading business organisation are continuing to attack Labor over bargaining fees for non-unionists, despite the ALP saying it would outlaw such fees.

Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, said today Labor's IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, must 'come clean' on Labor's position on compulsory union bargaining fees.

Gillard said earlier this week that Labor's proposed freedom of association laws would prevent non-union members being forced to pay a bargaining fee for union-won wage increases.

Not necessarily correct

However Hockey is arguing that this is not necessarily correct.

He says another section of Labor's IR policy clearly states: 'Under Labor's system bargaining parties will be free to reach agreement on whatever matters suit them.'

Hockey quotes Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, as saying in an interview: 'Did the document explicitly rule out bargaining fees? No. But my argument and Julia Gillard's argument is that bargaining fees are inappropriate to impose upon non-members of unions.'

Explicitly clear

Hockey said Labor must make its position on this issue 'explicitly clear'.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has taken up the same point as Hockey regarding bargaining on 'any matter'.

'Employers support voluntary union membership and freedom of association,' ACCI said. 'Employers oppose compulsory union membership through the back door, which is what these fees represent.

'It is not the role of employers to recruit members for a union or be put under economic pressure from strikes to do so,' it said.

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