||Issue No. 293||20 December 2005|
Waves of Destruction
Interview: Back to the Future
Unions: A Real Page Turner
Industrial: The Pin-Striped Union
International: Around The World In 365 Days
Legends: Terrific, Tommy
Your Rights At Work: Worth Fighting For
Politics: The Year That Was
Economics: Master and Servant Revisited
Culture: 2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
Bad Boss: The Bottom Ten
Religion: Hymns from a Different Song Sheet
The Locker Room
Free to Rat
Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
Proportion, Not Distortion
Boss Pings Rorters Charter
Civil contractors representative, Doug Huett, has added his voice to community and union concerns that Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, has devised a rorters' charter.
"Make no mistake, after 20 years as a senior industrial advocate representing employers, I can tell you categorically a lot of unscrupulous employers will take advantage of this new legislation," Huett warns in the latest issue of Construction magazine.
"That's the job - if you don't like it, off you go," he predicts will be the attitude.
Huett, who tangled regularly with unions, including the CFMEU, AMWU and AWU, as national executive director of the Civil Contractors Federation, took issue with key arguments underpinning Workchoices.
He said unfair dismissal protections had gone from "the sublime to the ridiculous".
He criticised the old regime as "ridiculously stringent" but characterised its replacement as a simple case of "you're sacked".
Huett also contested federal government's contention that minimum wages had been set by members of an "industrial relations club" who didn't pay enough attention to hard economic evidence.
He described the volume of economic evidence at National Wage Case proceedings, before the AIRC, as "mind boggling".
"I seem to recall Howard saying that the new Commission (Fair Pay Commission) will be made up of highly qualified people more able to determine what is fair pay.
"Conversely, the AIRC which broadly comprises appointments from both the employer and employee sides of the 'industrial relations club' - solicitors, senior advocates, union officials, ACTU officers, all with vast industrial relations experience - and, therefore, not deemed to be able to set a minimum wage," he wrote.
Huett pointed out the Howard Government had tried to reward outgoing CFMEU forestry division secretary, Trevor Smith, with a seat on the Fair Pay Commission in return for forestry votes that delivered the unexpected Senate majority it used to ram Workchoices into law.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same," he said. "Had Smith been appointed to the AIRC I would have thought the IR Club is alive and well."
Huett was national executive director of the Civil Contractors Federation from 1988-2002 and now works as a consultant to employers in the civil construction industry.
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