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"Which planet are you on Mr Barnett?"

Finsec media release

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"Which planet are you on Mr Barnett?"

"Michael Barnett's analysis of costs to business of the Employment Relations Act amendments in today's Herald is the stuff of science fiction," said Andrew Casidy, General Secretary of the finance workers' union, Finsec.

"Mr Barnett costs businesses' time at a minimum of $250 per hour. This equates to an annual salary of $520,000. He costs half a day of receiving advice and assembling information on an equal pay query as at least $1,500. The equivalent annual cost of this would be $780,000.

"Most workers couldn't comprehend a world where these sort of figures were paid. Instead, many spend time working out how to keep financially viable on $15 an hour or less," Andrew Casidy said.

"Mr Barnett says that the Government should test the benefit-cost of these amendments to the economy. Most of us, down here in the real world are interested in the benefits to society as a whole - not just to one section of it.

"Michael Barnett also fails to acknowledge the true cost-benefits of collective bargaining to employers. At the select committee Westpac bank recently conceded that individual bargaining with all employees would substantially increase their costs, and that union members' collective bargaining sets the major terms and conditions for all staff.

"It's a pity Mr Barnett can't make a more constructive contribution to a debate which should be about what is good for us all - business, workers and community," concluded Andrew Casidy.


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