||Issue No. 286||21 October 2005|
Lord of the Lobster Legs
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
Thus Spake Sydney Uni
Vote 1 Dictator
Buying peace Of Mind
Rev Kev Speaks
Hotline Gets Wires Crossed
In response to an inquiry to the hotline, an operator told Workers Online an employer could not make signing an AWA a condition of employment under the Government's proposed changes.
This contradicts the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations' own policy of employing all new staff on the condition of signing AWAs.
It also contradicts the Government's WorkChoices booklet, which gives the example of jobseeker "Billy" whose new job is "contingent on signing an AWA".
Instead, the WorkChoices operator said if an employer was trying to make accepting a job conditional on signing an AWA, they should be reported immediately to the Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA).
The ability of bosses to force new employees onto AWAs under existing laws was confirmed after a South Australian Industrial Relations Commission ruling in August.
"I accept it is lawful to require a new employee to sign an AWA as a pre-condition of employment irrespective of the fact it this is hardly a matter of real choice from the employee's point of view," Commission Judge JP McCusker said.
There is no indication in the WorkChoices documentation the Federal Government intends to change this arrangement.
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations' "No AWA No Start" policy was highlighted earlier this year when it was revealed new employees were provided with forms with a 'yes' box already ticked next to the statement, "I acknowledge my commitment to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement".
Unions NSW Secretary John Robertson said it was clear the government was putting its own spin ahead of giving people the facts.
"The fact is these changes are about removing choice - a fact that has already been demonstrated by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations," Robertson said.
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