||Issue No. 309||02 June 2006|
When the Truth Hurts
Interview: Rock Solid
Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Politics: The Johnnie Code
Energy: Fission Fantasies
History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
International: Closer to Home
Economics: Taking the Fizz
Unions: Stronger Together
Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Poetry: Fair Go Gone
The Locker Room
Howard's Advocate Fesses Up
Employment Advocate, Peter McIlwain, told Senate Estimates he had registered more than 6000 individual contracts, in the first month of WorkChoices, without checking their content.
The confession came in the wake of his Office refusing to register a collective agreement, negotiated by the CFMEU and a Queensland coal company, because it contained time off to attend union health and safety training.
McIlwain told Senators the rules for employer-driven AWAs were different.
He said he did not check AWAs to ensure they met new Fair Pay minimums.
"I stick to the functions I have been given by the parliament," he said.
Once registered, without being checked, he said, AWAs would be "operational" whether they met minimum standards or not.
McIlwain told the Senate Committee his Office had "analysed" 250 of the 6263 individual contracts it had registered.
That analysis showed that not one document included all six "protected award conditions" touted by the federal government in its $55 million WorkChoices advertising blitz.
McIlwain said ...
- 64 percent of AWAs removed leave loadings
- 63 percent did away with penalty rates
- 52 percent removed shift work loadings
- 16 percent excluded all award conditions
The Employment Advocate revealed declared public holidays had disappeared from some AWAs, and others pared back annual holidays to less than two weeks a year.
Protected, apparently, can become unprotected with a stroke of an employer's pen.
McIlwain said a "single clause" was sufficient to remove entitlements to all "protected" award conditions.
The revelations are a serious blow to the Prime Minister's credibility.
Howard personally aligned himself with last year's television, radio and newspaper campaign that assured Australians core conditions would be "protected by law".
The words were stamped in red across the covers of millions of copies of WorkChoices booklets.
The wall-to-wall advertising offensive was launched to counter union claims that workers would lose holidays, penalty rates and other basic award conditions, under Howard's legislation.
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