||Issue No. 320||18 August 2006|
Fixing the WorkChoices Mess
Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Unions: Fighting Back
Industrial: What Cowra Means
Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Politics: Page Turner
Economics: The State of Labour
International: Workers Blood For Oil
History: Liberty in Spain
Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
The Locker Room
Mum Lashes Feds
"They have lost their father and the Australian Government is trying to let employers off the hook for killing workers," says Marlene Shores. "Safety laws need to be toughened and penalties increased for those that do the wrong thing, not making it easier for employers to profit while killing working people.
"Unions are the best protection working people have in creating a safe workplace, if they strip away the rights of unions it is working people that will suffer."
Ronnie Shores was 43 when he was killed on the Cross City Tunnel job.
The CFMEU is currently prosecuting builder Baulderstone Hornibrook over the incident.
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson accused the Federal Government of colluding with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to water down proposed national OHS laws.
The ACCI tried to claim four guiding principles underpinning any proposed federal OHS laws were merely a "guide".
When the Feds appeared to agree with them NSW premier Maurice Iemma withdrew NSW representatives from a national working party on the new laws.
NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, said the Iemma Government would not allow national discussions on workplace safety laws to be hijacked by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"NSW is willing to discuss harmonisation of Australia's workplace safety laws as long as those discussions are based on the principle that safety standards will not be reduced," says Della Bosca. "I cannot stand by as this Liberal Party lobby group, headed by Peter Reith's former chief of staff, attempts to impose a Work Choices approach to workplace safety."
All governments previously agreed on the four principles that NSW is insisting upon:
1/ The use of a tripartite approach, where the concerns and suggestions of the States, unions and employer groups are properly considered;
2/ Observance of COAG's directive that there is no reduction in safety standards or current levels of support for injured workers;
3/ A considered analysis of the implications for compliance efforts required by employers, and regulators to ensure any increased consistency extends to enforcement of standards; and
4/ Proper consideration be given to the resource implications for employers, and also regulators involved in administering any increase in uniform laws.
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