WorkChoices: news wrap 17/11/05

News

WorkChoices: news wrap 17/11/05

Some recent development on WorkChoices front: Retail motor industry wants to keep awards, Senate inquiry told; No jail, just penury for Combet under new IR laws; and leading employers’ organisation is arguing that figures show workplace reform has been ‘very good for Australian women and their families’.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Some recent development on WorkChoices front: Retail motor industry wants to keep awards, Senate inquiry told; No jail, just penury for Combet under new IR laws; and leading employers’ organisation is arguing that figures show workplace reform has been ‘very good for Australian women and their families’.

Retail motor industry wants to keep awards, Senate inquiry told 

The retail motor industry has pleaded with the Federal Government to maintain an industry award system so the participants have a level playing field and do not undercut each other on wages and conditions. 

In a submission to the Senate inquiry into the new IR legislation, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) said members in the retail motor industry have ‘benefited from forming a strong collective and hence have relied on a federal industry award system’.  

‘The federal industry award has been a tool to maintain a level playing field for fair competition but has also at times made the industry vulnerable to claims and decisions that do not benefit the industry,’ the submission says. 

‘VACC would be concerned if awards will cease to have the effect of providing a relevant level playing field.  

‘VACC recommends that awards be maintained to avoid opportunities for cost cutting, but equally not be a disincentive for agreements between employers and employees.’

Industry profile

The submission says the retail motor industry has a small take up of registered agreements, whether EBAs or AWAs, and is still heavily award reliant whilst also adopting informal over award agreements directly with employees. Union membership in the industry is low.

It says the vast majority of members of Motor Trade Associations are small businesses (90% of members employ less than 20 staff) and 43% of members are located in rural and regional Australia.

‘Most simply the industry for various reasons does comprise of a large portion of unincorporated businesses. Whilst there is a transition period in the Bill, our members will need to contemplate whether they should consider incorporation,' the submission says.  

‘The industry faces tough competition even with big business and this will be balanced against their other priority areas such as investment in training and technology, provision of attractive salaries and benefits and at the same time contain relevant minimum standards to ensure industry is not forced to undercut prices and services 

‘The introduction of Work Choices will present some challenges and opportunities for the industry.  

‘Through the changes in unfair dismissal laws, the changed role in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) and the further simplification of awards, industry may be relieved of some of the inflexibilities  ... other provisions in Work Choices such as the simplification of classifications and rates of pay and the encouragement to enter agreements may present some challenges in terms of accepted current accepted industry standards.’ 

The submission can be found here.

No jail, just penury for Combet under new IR laws 

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet will not be jailed if he refuses to pay fines for knowingly including prohibited matters in agreements – instead he will face bankruptcy. 

The Federal Minister for Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews, said yesterday that there is no provision for jail if the fines are not paid. 

‘Only civil proceedings could be pursued to seek the penalties imposed for breaking the law,’ Andrews said. 

‘Combet and his cohorts may be seeking martyrdom, but they will not find it by refusing to pay fines that may be levied for breaking this law.’   

 

Employers argue workplace reform is ‘good for women’

A leading employers’ organisation is arguing that figures show workplace reform has been ‘very good for Australian women and their families’. 

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says the position paper, Workplace Reform - Working For Australian Women, demonstrates that reform has generated real benefits for Australian women. 

Paper released

The paper, launched today by Peter Hendy, ACCI Chief Executive, says in 2005, more Australian women are employed than ever before, unemployment for women is at record lows (5.2%) and participation rates by women (57.2%) and mothers are also at a record high. 

‘Reforms in 1993 and 1996 have led to more jobs and higher pay for women,’ Hendy says. ‘More women have entered employment, securing higher wages and an ever narrowing '‘gap’' between male and female earnings (14.9% in August 2005, the lowest in 22 years of measurement).

‘Women’s jobs have also become more secure under a less centralised, increasingly flexible system.’ 

Hendy said it is incorrect that workplace relations reform somehow inherently harms working women.  

‘The paper also shows it is incorrect to assert that AWAs are somehow inherently bad for women,’ he said.  

‘A woman on an AWA earns on average 60.5% more than women generally and a woman on an AWA earns on average 48.1% more than a woman on a collective agreement.’

(Unions argue that earning figures for AWAs are inflated because they include many executive salaries, and are mainly limited to the public sector.)

The paper is available on the ACCI website.

Related

Federal IR changes 2005  

 

Post details