IR news briefs 13/8/03


IR news briefs 13/8/03

Failed sacking laws a ‘let down’ says ACCI; Ridout to lead Ai Group; New Commissioners for SA IRC; NZ IR has the answers says Hulls; League players bargaining for salary cap and welfare.


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Failed sacking laws a ‘let down’ says ACCI; Ridout to lead Ai Group; New Commissioners for SA IRC; NZ IR has the answers says Hulls; League players bargaining for salary cap and welfare.

Failed Federal sacking laws a 'let down': ACCI

The failure of the Senate to pass the Federal Termination of Employment Bill earlier this week is a ‘let down’ for unemployed employees and employers, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

ACCI claimed that while the Bill was rejected by the Senate, the incentive to employ was discouraged, employers had to bear the burden of costs resulting from speculative unfair dismissal claims, and 627,000 people continued to be unemployed at a rate of 6.2%.

‘Despite it not being a Bill to exempt small business from unfair dismissal laws, the Labor Party and the Greens still opposed all measures outright, even after a Senate committee had examined the Bill in minute detail over a period of nearly 12 months,’ ACCI said.

The amendments put forward by the Democrats were of no help, ACCI claimed.

The Democrats amendments would have expanded access to unfair dismissal laws to casual employees and ‘would have intruded on the rights of independent contractors and would have undermined sensible changes the Democrats were prepared to make in other areas'.

ACCI called on politicians to reassess their position on the Bill and make changes on areas of common ground.

Ai Group to get new leader

Heather Ridout will take over the reins of Ai Group when Chief Executive Bob Herbert retires in February 2004.

Ridout is currently the Ai Group Deputy Chief Executive. She is also chair of the NSW Industry Capability Network, and member of the General Motors Australian Advisory Council, the Board for Electrolux Home Products and the Higher Education Review Committee.

She joined Ai Group in 1978. She has held a number positions in Ai Group, including executive director of public policy and communications, director New South Wales, and principal economic adviser to the chief executive. 

She graduated with a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from Sydney University in 1975 before joining Ai Group on in 1978. 

Bob Herbert has been the Chief Executive of Ai Group for seven years. Before that he served as the director for 30 years. He began his career with the then Metal Trades Industry Association (MTIA) as a cadet in 1961. 

According to the Ai Group, ‘Outstanding among Bob’s achievements was the formation of Ai Group in 1998 when MTIA and the Australian Chamber of Manufactures merged. 

‘This was a huge step forward generating enormous change.  It enabled Ai Group to evolve into the strong and respected industry representative organisation that it is today.’

New SA IR Commission appointments

A new Deputy President and two new Commissioners have been appointed to the South Australian Industrial Relations Commission (SA IRC).

Karen Bartel is the newly appointed Deputy President of the SA IRC.

David Steel, General Manager of Industrial and Employee Relations at Business SA, and Mick Doyle, Secretary of the United Fire Fighters Union are the two new Commissioners

Look to NZ for IR reform: Hulls

New Zealand recorded only one strike under good faith bargaining in the March quarter 2003, making it a model of industrial relations that Australia should consider replicating, the Victorian Industrial Relations Minster, Rob Hulls said in New Zealand today.

Hulls is in New Zealand for talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clarke and Attorney General and Labour Minister Margaret Wilson.

‘New Zealand is leading the way when it comes to workplace relations - building partnerships between employers, employees and unions,’ Hulls said.

‘Employer groups I have spoken to in Wellington strongly endorse the good faith bargaining approach - and no wonder.

‘Under good-faith bargaining, New Zealand recorded one strike in the March quarter.’

Hulls said the cooperative approach to workplace relations taken by New Zealand was ‘in stark contrast to the crash-or-crash through mentality of Federal Workplace relations Minister Tony Abbott’.

Rugby league players in bargaining briefing

The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) is meeting with league players Gordon Tallis, Brad Fittler, Trent Barrett and Brett Kimmorley this morning at the Labor Council of NSW, for an update on collective agreement talks with the National Rugby League.

Salary cap, player education and welfare, and intellectual property rights are the major planks of the talks currently underway.

‘League players have made a conscious decision to work as a group to improve the wages and conditions for all players,’ RLPA President Tony Butterfield said.

‘It is important that the games leading players take a leadership role to ensure that younger players get the opportunity to pursue their dreams of playing at the highest level and have fulfilling careers.’


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