SA bill aims to outlaw bargaining fees

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SA bill aims to outlaw bargaining fees

Shadow IR Minister Iain Evans told WorkplaceInfo he now planned to introduce his Bill when Parliament sat again in February, to make it illegal for unions to charge non-members bargaining fees.

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An attempt to outlaw union bargaining fees in South Australia has been forestalled for nearly three months after the Government withdrew time set aside for private members' bills this week, due to time constraints.

Shadow IR Minister Iain Evans told WorkplaceInfo he now planned to introduce his Bill when Parliament sat again in February, to make it illegal for unions to charge non-members bargaining fees.

He said there was 'something fundamentally wrong' about unions being able to levy a fee, sometimes more expensive than union membership, on people who had not requested their services.

The success of the Industrial and Employee Relations (Prohibition Against Bargaining Service Fees) Amendment Bill is likely to depend on the support of Independents and minor parties in both houses. While Evans said he had not yet held discussions with them, he expected that as it was an individual freedoms issue they would look at his bill with interest.

There have been numerous decisions on the issue in case law, but as these have been conflicting (see 285/2002), Evans says he wants to make it 'absolutely crystal clear' that in South Australia such fees are outlawed.

He said while the recent Stevens review into IR reform in South Australia (see 367/2002) had advised a wait and see approach when it came to fees, he had been watching what was happening in other jurisdictions, particularly Victoria, and thought immediate action was necessary.

And in NSW, a full bench of the state's Industrial Relations Commission has advised it may consider inserting a principle which deals with the issue of bargaining agent fees into the principles resulting from its current review of principles for the approval of enterprise agreements (see 385/2002).

 
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