Greens threaten to make IR laws meet global standards

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Greens threaten to make IR laws meet global standards

The Greens have threatened to amend Labor’s Fair Work Bill so it meets global standards, and are backing unions who plan to take the legislation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

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The Greens have threatened to amend Labor’s Fair Work Bill so it meets global standards, and are backing unions who plan to take the legislation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
 
A group of powerful Victorian left-wing unions is planning to lodge a complaint about the bill with the ILO early this year.
 
Bill ‘falls short’: unions
 
The unions allege Labor's Fair Work Bill falls short over freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, and does not go far enough in demolishing the pro-employer WorkChoices laws.
 
Victoria's Trades Hall and left-wing unions in manufacturing, construction, and education are supporting the ILO approach.
 
Greens IR spokeswoman Senator Rachel Siewert said her Party is encouraging unions to campaign globally on the Fair Work Bill — and she vowed to amend the legislation if necessary to ensure Australia’s workers achieve minimum global workplace safeguards.
 
Siewert said there were a number of areas in which the Bill would not meet international standards.
 
‘I'm not surprised that unions are contemplating this action — the Greens have expressed strong concerns about the concessions made by the Federal Government since they announced their policy, and we believe that some of areas of the Bill clearly would not meet ILO standards,’ she said.
 
Concerns not listened to
 
‘To date unions have been relatively quiet about the flaws of the Bill — but it is clear their concerns have not been listened to by the Industrial Relations Minister Julia Gillard.
 
‘Taking the Bill to the ILO to ask for an international assessment will hold the government to its election promises of dismantling the Howard‘s unpopular WorkChoices system.’
 
Siewert said the problem with the new Bill is that it is based on the foundations of John Howard’s WorkChoices — ‘in fact, whole sections are a direct copy’.
 
Rights not returned
 
‘Right to strike, right of entry, content of agreements, and pattern bargaining were all directly attacked by Howard's WorkChoices and the new system was meant to return these rights — but Gillard’s Bill has failed to do so,’ she said.
 
‘The Greens expect the Bill to meet global standards and we will amend it if necessary to ensure it does.
 
'It is time to move beyond WorkChoices Lite, and have a truly fair industrial relation system that protects workers and lays the foundations for inclusive economic prosperity.’
 
‘Balance is right’: Gillard
 
Gillard said the issue is a matter for the unions involved, but the government believes it has got the balance right.
 
‘When I introduced the Fair Work Bill into the Australian Parliament, I fully expected that there would be some employers who said we had gone too far, some unions who said that we hadn't gone far enough,’ she said.
 
‘We believe we have got the balance right, and importantly, we have delivered on our promises to the Australian people, to sweep WorkChoices away and to replace it with a fair and balanced industrial relations system.’
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