||Issue No. 273||22 July 2005|
Interview: Battle Stations
Unions: The Workers, United
Politics: The Lost Weekend
Industrial: Truth or Dare
History: A Class Act
Economics: The Numbers Game
International: Blonde Ambition
Training: The Trade Off
Review: Bore of the Worlds
Poetry: The Beaters Medley
The Locker Room
Keep the Faith
Life on a Low Wage
Seeing the Trees For the Wood
Carnival Comes to Town
Freedom to Starve
The department was recently outed for forcing new employees onto AWAs, while Andrews was assuring the public they were all about "choice", now it is flying in the face of government assurances it will retain the IRC as a robust dispute-settling mechanism.
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations is refusing to sign off on an agreement with 1500 CPSU members while they have the right to refer disputes to the Industrial Relations Commission.
"The Prime Minister is on record assuring Australians the commission will have an ongoing role is dispute resolution. If that is true, why is the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations refusing access to its own staff?" CPSU spokesperson Lisa Newman asked.
"We have had the right to take serious disputes to the IRC in our last two agreements but have never used it. We see it as a backstop that puts pressure on the parties to resolve issues in the workplace it.
"Without it, unfortunately, an aggressive party can simply stonewall an issue without making a genuine attempt at resolution."
Negotiations with the department have now dragged on for 11 months, raising concerns that it is running the political line of the federal government, rather than trying to bargain good faith.
Canberra is committed to spreading secret individual employment contracts in preference to transparent collective agreements.
While EBA workers have been stone-walled, employees have been lured onto AWAs offering immediate increases.
Departmental sources say whatever the going EBA offer, the department adds approximately one percentage point to that increase if workers will sign AWAs.
"Effectively, they are trying to starve people onto AWAs," Newman said.
"They have already said that the only way to get a job is on an AWA. Now they are suggesting the only way to get a wage rise is through an AWA.
"It's an interesting take on freedom of choice."
Frustrated CPSU reps are asking the public to help push the department into negotiating in good faith.
Online protests can be sen to Andrews and his departmental head, Peter Boxall, by following this link http://www.cpsu.org.au/campaigns/DEWR/protest/index.html
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