||Issue No. 256||18 March 2005|
Planet Common Cents
Workplace: Dirt Cheap
Industrial: Daddy Doesn’t Live With Us Anymore
Economics: Who's Afraid of the BCA?
International: From the Wreckage
Politics: Infrastructure Blues
History: Meat and Three Veg
Savings: Super Seduction
Politics: Popping the 'E-Word'
Poetry: To Know Somebody
Review: Off the Rails
The Locker Room
Fabulous Fan Mail
Nelson ‘Solves’ Skills Crisis
No Choice for Small Business
In a two-pronged assault on small business operators the feds want to deny them union representation before both the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and state industrial relations commissions.
Thousands of independent contractors are members of unions in trucking, construction, agriculture, cleaning and other industries.
In a deliberate attempt to have them shift allegiance, the federal government has drafted a bill that will disallow any unfair contract action before the ACCC where an application is from "a union, a union official or anyone acting on behalf of a union". The same bill specifically provides for applications to be brought by employer associations.
The Howard Government won't release drafts of separate contractors' legislation but Canberra sources say it will cut contractor access to state industrial relations commissions.
"It is an arrogant use of the Commonwealth's accidental majority in the Senate," Della Bosca said.
He said thousands of NSW independent contractors were akin to employees in terms of their bargaining power with big business.
"For close to half a centrury, they have used the NSW Industrial Relations Commission as an independent umpire.
"Without that protection, big business will be free to use its market power to exploit family businesses and contractors," Della Bosca said.
In the trucking industry, he warned, results could be fatal. He said it would give large companies the green light to make unfair contracts, resulting in unrealistic timetables that threatened all road users.
In a clear annoyance to the Howard Government, recent months have seen two large groups of contractors fight and roll corporate giants under union banners.
Hundreds of Perth tilers and their employees joined forces in the CFMEU to beat-off unfair contracts imposed by a tiling cartel, while cable and pay tv technicians ran a successful wages and conditions campaign through the CEPU.
The latest moves call into question the credibility of statements the Prime Minister has made on the Parliamentary record.
"We will never place a penalty on people who want to join a union ... There will be no attempt by us to put a penalty on people who belong to unions," Howard told the House on May 15, 1991.
Della Bosca said the Trade Pracises actions contravened the Council of Australian Governments Agreement which required consultation with the states.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|