Test case on whether local govt is covered by WorkChoices

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Test case on whether local govt is covered by WorkChoices

A test case began in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission today to protect the State's 50,000 local government employees from the Federal Government's WorkChoices legislation.

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A test case began in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission today to protect the State's 50,000 local government employees from the Federal Government's WorkChoices legislation.

Councils are regulated by the State Government and so could be exempt from WorkChoice, however many are incorporated and thus may fall under the new Federal IR laws.

The United Services Union (USU) will today test the Howard laws by applying for a new State award that it says would ‘protect existing family-friendly provisions and deliver members decent wage rises'.

Whichever way the State Industrial Court rules will affect about 50,000 childcare, maintenance, construction, administrative and other employees at 152 councils.

Valuable conditions

The USU case centres on childcare workers who it says will lose valuable conditions if they are not ruled to be employees of the State.

USU General Secretary, Ben Kruse, said that under the WorkChoices laws, female workers who currently have nine weeks paid maternity leave and equal pay protection would receive nothing.

The outcome of the case will affect the NSW State election on 24 March as industrial relations is one of the major issues.

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