‘Set us free from IR system’ miners tell Federal Govt

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‘Set us free from IR system’ miners tell Federal Govt

The mining industry wants the IR system freed up because it has always faced international competition and has ‘never been able to hide behind protection or wage setting’ a recent Sydney conference has been told.

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The mining industry wants the IR system freed up because it has always faced international competition and has ‘never been able to hide behind protection or wage setting’ a recent Sydney conference has been told. 

Speaking at the Industrial Relations Reform 2005 Conference Simon Billing, National Industry Manager, Australian Mines and Metals Association said there was a serious need for workplace relations reform. 

‘Its about productivity and competitiveness,’ he said. ‘We need a reduction in regulations and an increase in workplace flexibility. 

‘There is now a golden opportunity to change the system. And we need to reform it, not just adjust the status quo. We need the whole economy opened up to full competition.’  

AWAs should be primary

Billing said the mining industry wanted AWAs to have primacy over enterprise agreements at all times. 

Key issues for the AMMA include: 

  • Freedom to contract
  • Industrial action/compliance provisions
  • Function and role of AIRC
  • Unfair dismissals
  • Minimum conditions and minimum wage setting.

‘A deal is a deal and if you break it there should be real consequences,’ he told the conference.

Freedom of Contract Act proposed

Billing said there should be a Freedom of Contract Act that over-rides all federal and state workplace/industrial relations Acts. 

‘AMMA employs 35 staff across Australia yet there are well in excess of 150 different pieces of employment-related legislation collectively covering these staff,’ he said. 

Billing said the Federal Government is examining reducing the current list of 20 allowable matters in awards to 16.  

‘AMMA submits that this is unlikely to significantly change the intrusive degree of workplace regulation caused by the award system,’ he said. 

‘However, should an award system be maintained, a reduction to seven statutory minimum conditions is more likely to transform the award system to a true safety net.’ 

Allowable award matters

He said the seven allowable matters AMMA wants in awards are: 

  1. Four weeks annual leave per annum (or compensation in lieu);

  2. One weeks sick leave per annum;

  3. Up to 52 weeks unpaid parental leave for employees with at least 12 months service upon the birth of a child;

  4. A minimum weekly wage for adults based on a 38 hour week;

  5. A minimum weekly wage for juniors based on a 38 hour week;

  6. A fair treatment process (in the absence of which the Act would deem a process specified in the regulations);

  7. An entitlement to be consulted concerning change in the workplace likely to result in redundancy.

Related

Stop further award simplification: AiG

 

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