||Issue No. 251||11 February 2005|
Economics: Super Seduction
Interview: Bono and Me
Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Technology: From Widgets to Digits
Education: Dumb and Dumber
Health: No Place for the Young
History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
Review: Dare to Win
Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
The Locker Room
Morals Beat Hasty Retreat
Uncounted Cost Of Asbestos
Voting Farce Expands
I Beg To Differ
Submissions by the state government and the ACTU both highlight breaches of international labour law contained in a right of entry bill, introduced to Parliament in December.
The Bill, introduced by Workplace Minister Kevin Andrews, applies restrictions recommended by the Cole Commission for building industry workers, to employees across the spectrum.
It over-rides state right of entry laws for employers that are corporations; restricts entry for recruitment purposes; applies a new "fit and proper person" test to trade unionists; expands the grounds for revoking permits; obliges worker representatives to meet employer requests on the location of interviews and discussions; and requires them to obtain written requests from named AWA workers to enter a workplace to investigate AWA breaches.
The NSW Government says the proposed law is "unbalanced" and appears to have been drafted to curtail the ability of unions to organise collectively, while increasing the rights of employers.
Industrial Relations Minister, John Della Bosca, says the Andrews Bill is an attempt to foist "ill-advised and unworkable" legislation on the states.
The ACTU says the Bill will have three major effects ...
- preventing unions from effectively representing members in collective bargaining
- limiting their capacity to ensure employers abide by agreement
- preventing recruitment and effective representation of members
Meanwhile, the Office of the Employment Advocate, funded by the federal government to promote individual, non-union agreements, is proposing doing away with overtime payments and minimum working hours.
It has published a radical AWA template for small business that includes provisions for "voluntary" overtime to be paid at ordinary rates, and the removal of minimum guaranteed hours for casuals.
The template is published on the OEA's website on the basis that employers can use it to replace awards or negotiated agreements.
Under laws, introduced by the Howard Government, new starters offered an AWA do not have the right to opt for a collective agreement. Even a person best qualified for a job can be legally rejected if they refuse to sign the terms of an employer-drafted AWA.
Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the latest Employment Advocate proposal was an attack on the living standards of Australian families.
"That's what this is all about," Robertson said, "reducing earnings and job security, particularly of the most vulnerable."
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