IR news: OWS audit; ALP fix

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IR news: OWS audit; ALP fix

The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) is planning random audits of the accommodation sector across Australia. Meanwhile last week's embarrassing lockout of non-union journalists from covering the SA ALP conference will never happen again.

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The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) is planning random audits of the accommodation sector across Australia. Meanwhile last week's embarrassing lockout of non-union journalists from covering the SA ALP conference will never happen again.

OWS audit targets accommodation industry

The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) is planning random audits of the accommodation sector across Australia to check employers are fulfilling their obligations to employees.

During this month more than 9,000 motel and accommodation establishments Australia-wide have been provided with information about employers' workplace obligations under WorkChoices.

Random audits of individual businesses in metropolitan and regional areas will follow, with OWS Workplace Inspectors checking the time and wages records of these businesses.

OWS Director, Nicholas Wilson, said the campaign was prompted by a previous audit of accommodation businesses in the Northern and Alpine regions of New South Wales and in South-East Queensland, which revealed a low level of employer compliance with workplace obligations.

Minimum entitlements

Wilson said the OWS campaign will inform businesses on how to maintain accurate time and wages records and ensure that workers are paid in accordance with their minimum entitlements.

He said the campaign is 'a proactive initiative to educate and inform employers of their workplace relations obligations'.

'We want employers and workers in the accommodation industry to be aware of their rights and obligations,' Wilson said.

He said the OWS's aim is to ensure that businesses understand their obligations and conform to the law.

Litigation

'However, if the OWS finds breaches and they are repeat, wilful or of a serious nature, or if the employer does not rectify the breach voluntarily, the OWS may initiate litigation proceedings to ensure compliance,' Wilson said. 'The Court may then impose penalties against an employer for such breaches.'

Further information regarding OWS targeted education and compliance activities is available on the OWS website.

Labor will 'fix' ban on non-union journalists

Last week's embarrassing lockout of non-union journalists from covering Opposition Leader Kim Beazley's address to the SA ALP conference will never happen again, according to former ACTU President Martin Ferguson.

Ferguson, now Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, said the problem was caused by 'some obsolete rule that had escaped people's attention'.

'Kim Beazley correctly has made it very clear that the Federal Executive will fix this issue once and for all,' he told Channel 10's Meet the Press program yesterday.

'We are for choice - a right to be in a union or a right not to be in a union,' Ferguson said. 'You might also say we actually support the right of workers to negotiate a collective agreement - the Prime Minister doesn't.'

Asked why Beazley had 'dithered' on the issue, Ferguson said: 'What are you going to do, create a scene on the floor of the South Australian conference?

'We all have these problems from time to time. Kim Beazley has fixed it.'

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