Libs oppose wages protection for outsourced public servants

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Libs oppose wages protection for outsourced public servants

Legislation protecting the wages and entitlements of state public servants whose jobs are ‘outsourced’ to the private sector has passed the House of Representatives, where the Coalition voted against it.

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Legislation protecting the wages and entitlements of state public servants whose jobs are ‘outsourced’ to the private sector has passed the House of Representatives, where the Coalition voted against it.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said the legislation — Fair Work Amendment (Transfer of Business) Bill 2012 — would protect public servants where their jobs are lost in a transfer of business.

Rehired
 
This would include where a state government outsources work or sells assets and they are rehired by an employer in the national workplace relations system to do the same work.

The legislation will apply to state public sector employees in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.

‘The Bill further strengthens and extends the benefits of the existing transfer of business provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009, which previously only applied when both old and new employers were covered by the Fair Work system,’ Shorten said.

‘The 632,000 employees working in the Commonwealth, Victorian, Northern Territory and ACT public sectors already have the benefit of the transfer of business protections in the Fair Work Act.’
 
Protection
 
‘The Government is determined to ensure that the over one million public sector employees in those other states generally receive similar protection when they transition into the national workplace relations system.’

Shorten attacked the Opposition for voting against the legislation.

‘This is further evidence that what Liberal governments do with public sector cuts at the state level is what we would similarly see them do at the national level,’ he said.

Shorten said the Coalition also voted against giving stronger protections to workers in the event their employer is liquidated or bankrupted when they opposed the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Bill.

‘They also proposed an amendment to reduce entitlements for long serving employees,’ he said.

Nationals MP Sussan Ley said the legislation means that where there is a transfer of business the employees’ wages and entitlements would be protected ‘if they commence employment with a new employer within three months of their employment terminating with the old employer’.

Hurt workers
 
‘It is going to hurt the worker who, in seeking to become the workforce of a contracted-out employer and move from employment with the state government, now has to have all of the terms and conditions of that state government employment transferred with them to their new contractor,’ she said

‘If you were that new contractor, would you, in today’s environment, want to take on the Queensland government’s terms and conditions?’

‘Those terms and conditions are extremely generous, and that is part of the reason why the Queensland government has to address a looming state debt of more than $85 billion.’

Opposition IR spokesman Eric Abetz said Labor’s own Fair Work Act Review expressly recommended the Fair Work Act be changed to prevent the ‘transfer of business’ provisions of the Fair Work Act kicking in where an employee chooses to leave an employer of that employee’s own accord.

‘Almost all the redundancies from the public service in both Labor and Coalition states have been voluntary redundancies, so Bill’s Bill goes against the recommendations of his own review,’ he said.
 
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