ILO puts Howard’s IR laws on trial

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ILO puts Howard’s IR laws on trial

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, today will hear a complaint about the Australian Government’s current workplace laws and whether they breach international human rights obligations.

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The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, today will hear a complaint about the Australian Government’s current workplace laws and whether they breach international human rights obligations.  

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the ILO Committee on the Freedom of Association will hear the complaint with the findings of the Committee due to be considered by the ILO’s Governing Body meeting next week. 

Earlier criticism from ILO

The ILO has already strongly criticised the Australian Government, when in June this year, the ILO’s special Committee on the Application of Standards found the Government was not meeting its international obligations to protect the rights of workers to collective bargaining.  

‘To date, the ILO has only examined existing Australian workplace laws, but even these have been found wanting,’ Burrow said. 

‘The ACTU believes the new WorkChoices legislation introduced into Parliament this week will worsen the human rights situation for Australian workers with many legitimate union activities to be made illegal by the new laws.' 

Union officials could be fined

‘Under the Government’s proposed laws, union officials and employees will be fined up to $33,000 simply for asking an employer to include in an enterprise agreement provision for:

  • Protection from unfair dismissal

  • Union involvement in dispute resolution

  • Allowing employees to attend trade union training

  • Committing the employer to future collective bargaining

  • Protecting job security in the event that people are replaced by labour hire or contractors

  • Any other claim the Minister decides should be illegal.'

On home front - unions claim rural council workers hit    

Workers at 38 rural and regional councils across NSW will lose their rights to claim against unfair dismissal under the Federal Government’s new WorkChoices scheme, unions claim.  

A report entitled ‘NSW local government WorkChoices impact analysis’ was recently released  by the United Services Union (USU).  

The union examined how WorkChoices’ would impact on the Local Government (State) Award, which regulates the wages and conditions for over 45,000 Council workers in NSW. 

As well as the loss of unfair dismissal rights, USU General Secretary Brian Harris said the WorkChoices system will see fundamental entitlements, like annual leave, long service leave, even personal leave and carer’s leave stripped from Awards.  

As well, awards would have no provision for maternity leave.

A copy of the USU’s analysis of the new laws can be had by ringing the union hotline on 1800 451 604.

Related 

Federal IR changes 2005 

 

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