Unions point to Coalition confusion on IR laws

News

Unions point to Coalition confusion on IR laws

Unions have called on the federal Coalition to clarify its position on the new IR laws, after conflicting comment from two senior Liberals.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Unions have called on the federal Coalition to clarify its position on the new IR laws, after conflicting comment from two senior Liberals.
 
IR Shadow Minister Michael Keenan told the Australian Industry Group last December that 'WorkChoices is dead' and Labor has a mandate to implement the IR policy it took to the last election.
 
No unnecessary opposition
 
'Therefore, the commitments contained in their policy document will not be the subject of unnecessary opposition by the Coalition,' Keenan said.
 
However, Senator Mitch Fifield this week called on the Coalition to oppose the Fair Work Bill in the Senate because it would cost jobs in a time of economic crisis.
 
‘Stick to principles’
 
He said the Coalition should stick to its principles in support individual agreements between employers and employees.
 
As the Senate hearing into Labor’s proposed Fair Work Bill meets in Perth, UnionsWA said the Opposition had to make it clear what its position on the legislation is.
 
‘Not accepted mandate’
 
‘UnionsWA broadly supports the Bill as a major step forward,’ said secretary of UnionsWA, Dave Robinson.
 
‘The Coalition’s support for WorkChoices cost it power at the last election. Their failure to come clean about the new laws shows that they have not accepted the Government has a mandate for ensuring fairness in the workplace.’
 
Robinson said the Opposition has a choice between recognising the will of the Australian people or ‘supporting their mates in big business at the expense of working families’.
 
He said the Fair Work Bill would restore unfair dismissal protection for more than 550,000 WA workers; provide a safety net for all workers; establish an independent umpire; and ensure workers have the right to be represented in genuine collective bargaining.
 
Amendments needed
 
Robinson said several important amendments were required so the Bill could fully deliver on the Government’s election promise get rid of WorkChoices.
 
These include the availability of arbitration for deadlocked negotiations, improving the period for lodging an unfair dismissal application from 7 days to 21 days, and greater discretion for employees and employers to decide what terms will be included in agreements.
 
‘Employers and the Coalition must not use the economy as an excuse to continue to deny workers their rights,’ Robinson said.
 
Post details