||Issue No. 274||29 July 2005|
The Heart of the Matter
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
Poetry in motion
Losing the faith
Andrews Ropes In Footy
Andrews promised Queensland employers this week he would legislate to end roping-in provisions that unions have used to ensure people outside the reach of awards received minimum conditions.
In 2003, the SDA sought to rope-in Victorian retail bosses who had used Jeff Kennett's legislation to put workers onto individual contracts.
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission ruled on January 17, 2003, that it was "beyond doubt" that the Kennett "safety net" had fallen below federal awards and that employees had been disadvantaged because they did not receive overtime, penalty rates, annual leave loadings, nor severance entitlements contained in the award.
The Kennett legislation was a forerunner of what the federal government intends imposing nationally, where individual contracts are only measured against a handful of minimum conditions.
University research into the Victorian situation, showed employees on Kennett's schedule 1A were "significantly disadvantaged" when compared with workers on award minimum rates.
Only six percent of Schedule 1A workplaces paid shift allowance; less than a quarter paid weekend penalties; barely a third paid annual leave loadings; and only 40 percent recognised overtime.
The situation was more dramatically outlined in the hospitality sector where only eight percent of such employers paid weekend penalties, and 19 percent paid overtime.
Andrews said Victorian retailers had been "forcibly roped-in" to paying award minimums.
"That doesn't make any sense at all," Andrews told a Commerce Queensland audience in Brisbane.
Andrews also told them that centralising industrial relations, under Canberra's control, "was not about centralisation".
In fact, he suggested, it was more like Australian Rules football.
"In the 1970s if you lived in Melbourne and followed football you watched the Victorian Football League," he explained.
"However football, along with the rest of ther world, has changed - to survive it got bigger, it crossed borders and it delivered several premierships to Queenslanders but as part of the Australian Football League."
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