Libs looking to bring back AWAs after IR policy review

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Libs looking to bring back AWAs after IR policy review

The Opposition is re-evaluating its IR policies, to be ready for any snap federal election, and looks set to maintain individual workplace agreements.

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The Opposition is re-evaluating its IR policies, to be ready for any snap federal election, and looks set to maintain individual workplace agreements (AWAs).
 
Shadow finance minister and head of the Coalitions policy review committee, Andrew Robb, said he would be looking at unfair dismissal laws and the reinstatement of individual contracts.
 
He said that because Labor has allowed existing AWAs to continue for four or five years the government must consider they are fair.
 
Business concerns
 
‘A lot of businesses are expressing concerns about what happens after these contracts expire,’ Robb said.
 
‘In many respects we want to see what will happen when the individual contracts expire.’
 
‘All my contacts in the construction industry tell me that it’s all starting to unravel. They say the unions have the swagger well and truly back and are throwing their weight around and the threats are reappearing.’
 
Go away money’
 
‘I've talked to industrial lawyers about unfair dismissal and they say it’s back to where it was with go-away money. These are all areas we will have a really long, hard look at.’
 
FWA official Bernadette O’Neill told a Senate committee this week that 75% of unfair dismissal claims conciliated in the three months from 1 July this year involved employers paying employees money, mostly in the $2000 to $4000 range.
 
She said 28% got less than $2000, and 3% got more than $20,000–$30,000.
 
No changes
 
After the August federal election Opposition Leader Tony Abbott promised there would be no changes to the Fair Work legislation in his first term in government, and any planned changes would be announced before the next poll.
 
However, since then Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has urged business to engage in the IR debate, saying IR reform was ‘alive’ under the Coalition.
 
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