NSW toughens its IR stance under Iemma

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NSW toughens its IR stance under Iemma

NSW has toughened its industrial relations stand since the elevation of Morris Iemma to Premier this week and will take a hard line to today’s State Industrial Relations Ministers meeting with Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews.

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NSW has toughened its industrial relations stand since the elevation of Morris Iemma to Premier this week and will take a hard line to today’s State Industrial Relations Ministers meeting with Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews.

Within a day of becoming Premier, Iemma announced NSW would join other States in challenging the forthcoming national IR system in the High Court.

NSW IR Minister John Della Bosca will tell today’s meeting that NSW is committed to maintaining an industrial relations system that enshrines the following core principles:

  • The right of employers and employees to bargain to make workplace agreements, without government dictating what they can and cannot agree to.
  • A fair minimum living wage set by a genuinely independent tribunal, after a public hearing.
  • An up-to-date and comprehensive safety net for all workers, written in plain English.
  • An independent umpire with broad dispute-settling powers, including disputes about dismissal.
  • Special protection for vulnerable workers, including protection from exploitative arrangements.

Della Bosca said today’s meeting was an opportunity for the Commonwealth to provide genuine details of its draft legislation.

‘The Commonwealth’s plans have caused a great deal of concern, with conflicting messages from the Minister, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer,’ Della Bosca said.

He said on the detail presented so far, many community standard entitlements are at risk, including:

  • Overtime penalty rates
  • Redundancy pay
  • Weekend and public holiday rates
  • Afternoon and night shift penalty rates
  • 17.5% annual leave loading
  • Meal allowances, broken shift allowances
  • Long service leave, sick leave and annual leave

‘When the Court Liberal Government in Western Australia allowed annual leave to be negotiated, 50% of agreements contained no annual holidays at all – it had been negotiated away,’ Della Bosca said.

‘The Commonwealth proposal contains no safety net to ensure contracts are fair; no effective umpire; and for the vast majority, almost any dispute can be resolved by a dismissal.’

Andrews cancelled three meetings of IR Ministers over the last 18-months, so today is the first opportunity for the States to be given details of the new IR proposals.

High Court Challenge to Govt’s IR ad blitz to be heard in 2 weeks

In another High Court matter, a Full Bench of the High Court is expected to hear the ACTU and ALP’s case against the Federal Government’s planned advertising campaign in support of its industrial relations changes in about two weeks’ time.

Shadow Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the writ filed in the High Court argues that the Government has no authority from the Parliament to use public money on these advertisements and is therefore in breach of section 83 of the Australian Constitution.

On 29 July, Justice Heydon of the High Court refused on technical grounds to grant an injunction to stop the $20 million communication campaign. The ACTU and the ALP argued that the Government's spending on the IR advertising is unlawful, under the Constitution because the Federal Parliament has not yet approved the expenditure.

Justice Heydon agreed to expedite the hearing before a Full Bench, which is expected to begin in about two weeks' time.

Related

National IR system may take 10 years to get through High Court

Howard Govt taken to High Court over IR ad campaign


 

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