'Keep your hands off WorkChoices', small business warns ALP

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'Keep your hands off WorkChoices', small business warns ALP

Small business loves WorkChoices so much they don't want any of Labor's changes — according to the body which represents them.

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Small business loves WorkChoices so much they don't want any of Labor's changes — according to the body which represents them.

Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) Chief Executive, Tony Steven, told ABC radio that business wanted to retain the government's industrial relations legislation.

'Any step other than that is a step backwards towards giving the emphasis back to the employees, when we feel that the numbers of employees compared to the number of jobs gives the balance to the employees anyway,' Stevens said.

Not enough workers to go around

Steven said that in the current economic situation the demand for employees was so high that the negotiating strength now rested with prospective workers.

'There is not enough of them to go around any more,' he said. 'To say that that is going to end when the mining boom ends is in my view incorrect. I feel it is actually more attuned to the retirement of the baby boomers and that is going to go on for another 20 years.'

Undermine confidence to employ

Steven said small business was particularly concerned about plans to dump AWAs and reintroduce unfair dismissal laws for small business.

Steven said Labor's plan for a 12-months probation period for each new employee in a business of under 15 workers, and six months for more than 15, meant that: 'After that period ends, we are back to the possibility of unfair dismissal claims against us and having to defend them with Fair Work Australia bureaucrats based throughout all the suburbs,' he said.

'We feel it will undermine the confidence of employers to take on more and more people.'

Steven said that would mean cost, time and red tape for small business operators.

'Just like any family or any other type of relationship, they break down,' he said. 'If an employee has the opportunity to walk away from an employer at any time, surely an employer must have some degree of the same right.'

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