Three weeks for submissions on changes to FW Act

News

Three weeks for submissions on changes to FW Act

The latest proposed changes to the Fair Work Act have been referred to a Parliamentary committee, with submissions due by 18 April.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The latest proposed changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 have been referred to a Parliamentary committee, with submissions due by 18 April.

The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013, tabled by Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, includes provisions for stronger employee rights to request flexible work arrangements and be consulted about changes to rosters and working hours.

It also allows for union to hold meetings in lunch rooms and makes workplace bullying a matter that can be dealt with by the Fair Work Commission. However, plans for forced arbitration over intractable disputes have been deferred, subject to further negotiations.

Employer organisations are strongly opposed to the changes and have called for the legislation to be abandoned, saying it will hit jobs and the economy.

Too ‘pro union’

They have argued that the amendments are too ‘pro-union’, while the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is claiming it wants further changes to allow unions to include more matters in enterprise agreements.

With the Gillard Government’s first preference vote now down to 30 per cent, according to the latest Newspoll, the government is desperate to shore up its traditional base in the union movement.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott, who is under pressure from within the Liberal Party to adopt a tougher IR policy, has announced that more information on the Coalition workplace relations plans would be provided within ‘weeks rather than months’.

Abbott ‘cautious and careful’

However, Abbott reiterated his promise that any changes would be ‘careful, cautious and responsible’ — which will disappoint those who want changes to such matters as unfair dismissal laws along with greater workplace flexibility.

He is determined to avoid another WorkChoices election, which cost the Howard Government the 2007 election.

Submissions can be made to the House Standing Committee on Education and Employment.

 
Post details