We’d rather keep AWAs, but new IR law is OK: business

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We’d rather keep AWAs, but new IR law is OK: business

Employers would prefer to keep AWAs, but Labor’s transitional IR legislation is ‘workable’, a major business organisation believes.

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Employers would prefer to keep AWAs, but Labor’s transitional IR legislation is ‘workable’, a major business organisation believes.

AiG

Heather Ridout, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group (AiG), said the workplace relations amendments introduced into Federal Parliament yesterday ‘appear to be balanced and workable and were shaped by a very constructive consultation process’.

‘Employers would have preferred to keep AWAs as an employment option,’ she said. ‘However, in the absence of this the Government has been prepared to take on board AiG’s concerns and to address the major transitional issues in a practical way.’

Ridout said it was important that the Bill enables all existing AWAs to continue for their full term (up to five years) and employers who have been using AWAs will be able to enter into statutory individual employment agreements (to be called Individual Transitional Employment Agreements - ITEAs) for the next two years, subject to a 'no-disadvantage test'.

Complex

She said the legislation is, however, complex and AiG will need to study the final Bill in detail. Any issues of concern that emerge will be raised with the Government and in submissions to the likely Senate inquiry.

AMMA

The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) said the Bill contains no ‘surprises’.

Mr Steve Knott, AMMA chief executive, welcomed the decision to allow AWAs and ITEAs to remain in force beyond their nominal expiry date is welcomed by AMMA.

‘Having the capacity for AWAs and ITEAs to operate beyond their nominal expiry date and ability to offer ITEAs as a condition of employment will give business sufficient time to devise long-term strategies that are suitable to all parties’, he said.

ACTU

The ACTU said the proposed new workplace relations law is ‘an important and welcome first step towards reversing the damage done to working Australians by the Liberal and National Parties’ unfair WorkChoices laws’.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the proposed legislation will ban new AWA individual contracts (AWAs), phase out existing AWAs by 2013 and begin restoring protections for workers that were taken away by WorkChoices.

Pass law quickly: ACTU

‘It is essential that the proposed ban on new AWAs be passed by Parliament as quickly as possible given employers are still taking advantage of WorkChoices to push thousands of workers every day onto lower paid AWAs,’ she said.

‘The Australian people overwhelmingly voted at the last election to reject AWAs and the Howard Government’s ideological attack on the rights of working people.'

‘All MPs and Senators should now respect the result of the election and begin to scrap WorkChoices by supporting Labor’s proposed new IR laws.’
 

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