Libs IR MP calls for new WorkChoices regime

News

Libs IR MP calls for new WorkChoices regime

An influential Coalition MP has called for the reintroduction of WorkChoices-style IR laws despite his leader, Tony Abbott, trying to play down workplace relations as a political issue.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

An influential Coalition MP has called for the reintroduction of WorkChoices-style IR laws despite his leader, Tony Abbott, trying to play down workplace relations as a political issue.
 
South Australian Liberal MP Jamie Briggs, who worked as an IR adviser to then Prime Minister John Howard during the WorkChoices days, has called for the reintroduction of individual agreements, a curb on unions’ bargaining power, the linking of wage rises to productivity gains, and the scrapping of unfair dismissal laws for small business.
 
Writing on The Punch website Briggs said the forthcoming flood reconstruction work in Queensland would exacerbate the shortage of labour and drive up wages.
 
‘The Queensland rebuild is coinciding with a resource sector that is already driving up demand for skilled labour,’ he said.
 
Toxic combination
 
‘Combine this with [the] union-weighted bargaining laws and you have a toxic combination for Australia home buyers.’
 
‘However the Labor Government is unable to take the necessary action needed to stop the inflationary and multiplier effect its re-regulation of the labour market is bound to cause.’
 
Briggs said Prime Minister Julia Gillard should take three urgent steps to prevent a wages breakout:
‘1. She should amend the regulations to remove the excessive union power in the bargaining process, especially where they have no members, and reinstate the 1996 Reith individual agreements to increase the range of options for employers and employees to choose from and to reduce the ability of unions to force employers into unsustainable wage rises outside of sustainable productivity gains;
 
2. As highlighted by the Australian Mines and Metals Association, the ability of unions to pattern bargain (in direct contravention to the Prime Minister’s promise) should be removed; and
 
3. If the Prime Minister is serious about encouraging employers to tap into the long term unemployed pool then the disincentive of the unfair dismissal laws should be removed for small business.’
Briggs said the unions had become ‘emboldened’ under Gillard.
 
Declared ‘war’
 
‘The golden haired boy of the Labour movement, Paul Howes, this week declared war on one of Australia’s biggest employers, Rio Tinto,’ he said.
 
‘In an unprecedented series of attacks Howes said that he and his union were “coming after” Rio and he made it clear that they will use the Gillard IR laws to push to increase union membership in the resources sector as the priority. This will all be at the expense of the Australian economy.’
 
‘Rather than being slapped down by Prime Minister Gillard for inciting economic destruction, Howes was gushingly described as “a great contemporary union leader” by his admiring Prime Minister.’
 
‘While Howes might be backslapped by his comrades, the 19th century rhetoric defies the fact that workers in the mining industry are in very strong bargaining positions and are remunerated quite well.’
 
‘This explains why a vast majority of mining industry workers have snubbed the AWU under both Howes and his predecessor Bill Shorten and have largely chosen to stick with individual arrangements that best suit their needs.’
 
Post details