Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Union Sandbagging Slows Award Simplification

The Hon. Peter Reith, MP

Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business

Leader of the House of Representatives

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

6 July 1999

Union Sandbagging Slows Award Simplification And Pay Rises

Low paid workers are being deprived of up to $24 a week in wage rises granted by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in the 1997 and 1998 Safety Net Review decisions because unions have failed to have their awards varied.

Evidence produced in this year's case showed that by December 1998 more than two thirds of federal awards containing wage rates had not been varied by unions applying for the flow on of either the '97 or '98 decision.

Similarly, unions are dragging the chain when it comes to award simplification.

Despite awards being prescribed to 20 allowable matters from July last year and being given a breathing space of eighteen months prior to that to begin the simplification process unions have deliberately adopted a head in the sand approach.

Yesterday's report by the AIRC that of the 3,197 federal awards 1,046 had been set aside, while a further 246 have been simplified is welcome evidence of the progress being made but it also underscores the need for further legislative measures to simplify awards and speed to process.

In the More Jobs, Better Pay amendments to the WRA introduced last week the Government is moving to further simplify awards and create a requirement that awards be simplified before being further varied.

Predicably the ACTU is feigning outrage at the alleged consequences of this proposal. Jennie George said of the amendments:

"But it is a terrible thing to make it even harder for the low paid and the disadvantaged to get a pay rise of around $12 a week. The low paid must not be held hostage by this Government".

What hypocrisy. Rather than complain about these measures the ACTU and union bosses should have a close look at their own commitment to flowing on the pay rises already granted to the low paid.

Union complaints about government proposals to require awards to be simplified before varied for such wage increases are hardly credible when the unions themselves have failed to immediately apply for a flow on.

The Government's measures will simply force unions to do what they claim they purport to be doing, and that is, to look after the low paid.

It is no wonder people are leaving the union movement when union leaders so callously ignore the needs of their members.

It is about time the ACTU shed its ideologically blinkered vision to reform of the Workplace Relations Act or face the further consequence of mass desertions from their ranks.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news