Tip that unions will get more power in new IR laws

News

Tip that unions will get more power in new IR laws

The ACTU has called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to not ‘water down’ his proposed IR laws when meeting with business leaders today, while a media report suggests the Government plans to boost the role of unions.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The ACTU has called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to not ‘water down’ his proposed IR laws when meeting with business leaders today, while a media report suggests the Government plans to boost the role of unions.

The Australian Financial Review reports today that the Government will force employers to renegotiate old workplace agreements two years into the new IR system, regardless of their expiry date.

The new laws are due to start on 1 January 2010; so, companies that signed workers up to five-year AWAs late last year or up to 27 March this year could see them truncated by about 12  to 18 months.

The renegotiations process could give unions the chance to re-establish themselves or increase their presence in workplaces.

‘Significant harm’ provision

The newspaper also states that the Fair Work Australia system will allow for the arbitration of wage disputes if the parties are suffering ‘significant harm’, such as from protracted strike action.

It says that in another change, union members who do not want their union to represent them in wage negotiations will have to advise the union in writing.

IR Minister Julia Gillard is outlining some of the details of the new IR scheme to Labor MPs today. Legislation is due to be tabled in Parliament before the end of this year, possibly next month.

ACTU president Sharan Burrow said Rudd must resist any calls to water down Labor’s proposed industrial relations laws in his meeting with business leaders today.

Stability and confidence needed

‘The gloomy economic outlook reinforces the importance of having strong IR laws that give workers stability and confidence that their jobs are secure,’ she said.

‘Australian companies have been enjoying record profits and are in a strong position to withstand the economic downturn from overseas.'

‘They have an obligation to provide some certainty to their workforce, respect the rights of their workers, and play fair in negotiations.'

‘In instances where jobs will be lost, businesses must provide redundancy pay and other entitlements to help see households through hard times.’

‘Stimulate economy’ package welcomed

Unions have welcomed moves this week to stimulate the economy with $10.4 billion in spending, and to rein in the obscene corporate salaries, which have encouraged excessive speculation and risk-taking.

Burrow said there was merit in the idea of superannuation funds being invested in nation-building infrastructure, as long as they met benchmarks for a reasonable commercial return for the funds.

‘Investing in infrastructure will both stimulate the economy and strengthen Australia for the future,’ Burrow said.

Secure returns more likely

‘Billions of dollars of workers’ savings are held by industry super funds, and investing in major infrastructure projects may generate a bigger and more secure return than the stock market.'

‘As it allocates funds to infrastructure projects, the Government should give priority to those which will help generate new jobs, provide secure employment and deliver benefits to working families.'

‘Areas of priority should include investment in sustainable industries that help Australia respond to climate change, public transport, and affordable rental and community housing.’


Related


New IR laws have ‘serious deficits and too much WorkChoices’

Govt praised for 'keeping most of WorkChoices'
 

Post details