||Issue No. 245||05 November 2004|
What�s In a Name?
Interview: The Reich Stuff
Economics: Crime and Punishment
Environment: Beyond The Wedge
International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Politics: Labo(u)r Day
Human Rights: Arabian Lights
History: Labour's Titan
Review: Foxy Fiasco
Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
Shearers Brush Woolly Mammoths
Staff, Trees Weather the Blame
Environment Wiped Out In Dubbo
The Locker Room
Let's Start A New Party
Labor Council of NSW
Minister Rides Collie
Less than four weeks after its election victory, the Howard regime has intervened in a federal court hearing that seeks to make it illegal for employees to bargain over a number of issues, including contract labour and local government representation leave.
Lawyers for Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, arrived in Perth, last week, to back Westfarmers in its challenge to the legality of half a dozen clauses advanced by Collie maintenance workers.
Westfarmers has gone further, issuing claims for unspecified damages against the AMWU, its state secretary Jock Ferguson, assistant secretary Colin Saunders and four rank and file delegates.
The company, one of Australia's largest, will be able to chase respondents' assets if the Federal Court rules in favour of Westfarmers and Andrews.
The issue stems from September's Electrolux decision in which the High Court ruled only matters directly pertaining to the employer-employee relationship could be included in agreements under the Workplace Relations Act.
Anything else, its judgement suggested, could render signed agreements invalid and leave workers, and their representatives, who had engaged in industrial action, open to massive damages claims.
Dissenting judge, Justice Michael Kirby, predicted the majority decision would have a "chilling" effect on enterprise bargaining.
The Perth case stems from industrial action taken by maintenance workers at Westfarmers subsidiary, Premier Coal, in July. Westfarmers originally contested its legitimacy in the Industrial Relations Commission where it failed to win an injunction.
Some of the claims now being litigated by Westfarmers, and Andrews, had already been agreed to in negotiations.
In his submission to the court, Andrews contended workers were not allowed to bargain over union fee deductions, right of entry, union meetings, local government representation leave or controls on contract labour.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|
© 1999-2002 Workers Online