WorkChoices dispute procedures are 'secretive',  conference told

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WorkChoices dispute procedures are 'secretive', conference told

The WorkChoices' disputes resolution procedures are based on 'ideology' and are not transparent, a former senior member of the AIRC told the recent Fair Go From Here conference.

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The WorkChoices' disputes resolution procedures are based on 'ideology' and are not transparent, a former senior member of the AIRC told the recent Fair Go From Here conference.

Paul Munro, who served from 1986 to 2004 as a Senior Presidential Member of the Commission, said the description 'ideology' was a legitimate term, not abuse. He said WorkChoices exalts freedom of contract and pursuit of maximum return for the market.

'Now there are independent providers and facilitators of dispute resolution, putting down people in the tribunals who have spent a lifetime doing it,' he said.

Munro said that under WorkChoices there were secrecy provisions regarding dispute resolution.

Unenforceable

'You can't reveal what went on, and outcomes are unenforceable,' he said.

Munro said there was a right to dignity at work, but this could happen 'only if there is someone observing and enforcing it'.

'The tribunals brought an audience in, there was a motive to resolve things internally because otherwise it will be made public,' he said.

Recession - the next test

But under WorkChoices 'who is looking, who is listening?'

Munro forecast that when the next recession comes small supermarkets will say to their young employees: 'We don't need you unless you sign the AWA'.

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