||Issue No. 298||10 March 2006|
Interview: Organising In Cyberspace
Industrial: How Low Is Low
Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
Unions: Bad Medicine
History: Right Turn, Clyde
Economics: Long Division
International: Union Proud
Politics: Howardís Sick Joke
Indigenous: The year of living dangerously
Review: Lights, Camera, Strike!
Culture: News Front
The Locker Room
Andrews Cops Legal Buffeting
The state Industrial Relations Commission, last week, rejected submissions from the Workplace Relations Minister and supporting business groups that would have seen wage movements put on ice for another 18 months.
The Commission will begin hearing an application for a four percent State Wage Case from June 5.
Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the ruling was evidence that people in NSW would be protected from the "worst excesses of the Howard Government's big business agenda.
"The Howard Government and major employer groups tried to block the application because they want to apply a low-wage US-style model through their so-called Fair Pay Commission," he said.
The NSW Commission took direct aim at Canberra's rationale for its Fair Pay Commission which will no longer be required to consider "fairness" in determining wage rates.
It said "fairness" would still be a factor in NSW deliberations.
"The difference between the two schemes was stark and this Commission's award-making powers, under the Act, are considerably broader than those of the AIRC," it said.
The decision came as unions and labor states scored a procedural victory in preliminary skirmishes to their constitutional challenge to the validity of Work Choices.
Largely because Canberra hasn't produced the regulations underpinning its workplace changes, challengers have been granted extra time to file submissions and Chief Justice Murray Gleeson has extended hearing dates.
At a directions hearing in Canberra, counsel for the federal government argued the states, and unions, should have to file their submissions before seeing the regulations.
NSW is expected to lead the challenge, backed by all other states, to the commonwealth's Constitutional ability to use corporations powers to override state industrial laws.
NSW Industrial Minister, John Della Bosca, said the directions hearing ruling was significant.
"It's a political minefield because once they draft the regulations their real intentions to cut wages and living standards will be clear," he said.
"It is also obviously a legal minefield if they are abusing the corporations law."
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