WorkChoices news wrap


WorkChoices news wrap

NSW Government investigating new national IR system; Win for Watchdog; Workplace reform roll-back - bad for small business; Unions want plebiscite on WorkChoices.


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NSW Government investigating new national IR system; Win for Watchdog; Workplace reform roll-back - bad for small business; Unions want plebiscite on WorkChoices.

NSW Government investigating new national IR system

George Williams, the Director, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, Faculty of Law, The University of New South Wales, has been appointed by the NSW Government to conduct an inquiry into 'how a fair and harmonised national industrial relations system that appropriately balances the interests of employees and employers can be put in place in partnership between the Commonwealth and NSW'.

Williams anticipates releasing an issues paper and calling for comment in early September. His final report to the Government is expected around the time of the 2007 Federal election.

The terms of reference

The terms of reference for the inquiry include:

  1. 'Identify principles which would underpin a harmonised national industrial relations system which would operate within a framework of cooperative federalism
  2. Consider the range of options for achieving such a harmonised national industrial relations system
  3. Recommend the optimum model for NSW … '


NSW looking at new 'harmonised' national IR system

Win for Watchdog

The Sydney building materials business that the Prime Minister was questioned on in Parliament, and referred to the Workplace Ombudsman, has been successfully prosecuted by Workplace Ombudsman and a penalty of $16,500 imposed.

BM Sydney Building Materials Pty Ltd (BMS) has been successfully prosecuted by Australia’s workplace watchdog for breaching workplace law in its treatment of a young and vulnerable worker, Mr Shane Denning, who was only 18 at the time the breaches occurred.

The breaches committed by BMS included failure to pay Mr Denning entitlements including casual loading, annual leave loading as a casual employee, sick leave as well as shift and forklift allowances. BMS was also found by Federal Magistrate Driver not to have kept adequate employment records or provided pay slips to Mr Denning.

Other matters

The Workplace Ombudsman is currently acting to enforce worker’s rights around Australia including:

  • Recovered unpaid wages for vulnerable women workers employed by Molly Morgan Motor Inn in Maitland NSW and successfully prosecuting the employer resulting in a $13,796.00 penalty
  • Currently prosecuting Serco Sedexho Pty Ltd for allegedly applying duress to two young female workers to sign AWAs
  • Prosecution of Tristar Steering and Suspension in the Federal Court of Australia in NSW for its alleged treatment of its workers
  • Prosecuting Gabrielli Constructions Pty Ltd in Queensland for an alleged underpayment of a vulnerable young apprentice
  • Prosecuting Chillis restaurants in NSW for allegedly failing to comply with the required AWA lodgement procedures and conducting an ongoing investigation into further allegations against the restaurant franchise
  • Prosecuting trolley collector companies Risborg Pty and M & K Angelopolous in South Australia for alleged underpayments of their vulnerable young employees of over $250,000
  • Prosecuting KSN Engineering for alleged duress of workers to sign AWAs
  • Prosecuting Coverdale NT Pty Ltd in Darwin for allegedly underpaying young and vulnerable employees in the company that owned Eagle Boys Pizza and Subway franchises


Court action as OWS guns for 'sham' contractors

Workplace reform roll-back - bad for small business

The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce is urging Kevin Rudd and the Australian Labor Party not to roll back workplace reform should the ALP win office in the forthcoming Federal election.

'It is important that, whoever wins Government, the workplace reforms of the past 14 years are not wound back,' VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

'The introduction of enterprise bargaining by the Keating Government in 1993 and the growth of Workplace Agreements combined with increased protections for small business in recent years, have produced benefits for the Australian economy and ordinary working Australians,' Purchase added.

VACC calls on the ALP to meet the needs of small business by amending its policy to:

  • Recognise the value of small business in producing jobs growth
  • Retain an individual’s right to bargain
  • Maintain a fair and simple safety net that enables small business to engage in enterprise bargaining
  • Control the abuse of unfair dismissal laws and its effect on business


Abolishing AWAs is ‘economic vandalism’, say miners

Unions want plebiscite on WorkChoices

Queensland unions have called on Prime Minister, John Howard, to let Queensland workers have their say on WorkChoices by holding a referendum on the laws.

QCU General Secretary, Grace Grace, said that Mr Howard’s intervention in Queensland’s local government amalgamations had opened a can of worms and that there were many important issues which could be put to the vote via the same process.

'Nobody got their chance to vote on WorkChoices in 2004 so we now call on the Prime Minister to let workers have their say as to whether they want to be covered by his unfair and unjust industrial laws,' Grace noted.


Howard will stick with WorkChoices despite 'unfair' claims


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