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  Issue No 50 Official Organ of LaborNet 14 April 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

Trades Hall

Neale Towart's Labour Review

The latest instalment in Neale's rundown of the weird and wonderful from the IR world.


Neale Towart

Workers' Compensation, Secondary Disabilities and Workplace Safety Incentives

K Purse

Financial incentives are assumed by many Australian Workers Comp Authorities to promote improvements in workplace health and safety. This article outlines the main features of the South Australian bonus and penalty scheme and examines the significance of excluding secondary disability claims costs from the operation of the scheme. It is argued that the exclusion of these costs has resulted in widespread manipulation of claims costs and serious distortions in the allocation of bonuses and penalties.

(Journal of Occupational Health and Safety Australia and New Zealand; vol. 16, no. 1, February 2000)

Measuring Performance in OHS: an investigation into the use of positive performance indicators

A Costigan and D Gardner

An examination of whether positive performance indicators (PPIs) are effective when used to measure the performance of selected areas of the occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS). A study was carried out at two Sydney based manufacturing companies.

(Journal of Occupational Health and Safety Australia and New Zealand; vol. 16, no. 1, February 2000)

Tax Deduction for Agreement Costs

Some costs incurred by employers and employees in preparing and administering employment agreements are now tax deductible. The Australian Tax Office has issued Draft Taxation Ruling TR 1999/D15 on the deductability of these costs.

(Australian Industrial Law; newsletter 3/2000, March 2000)

Multiple Business Agreements

The multiple business agreement negotiated in the independent supermarket business in Victoria, and approved by the AIRC last year was significant as it was approved on public interest grounds and it covered more than one employer. Employers claimed it was too expensive for individual employers to have to handle all the IR and bargain effectively. The construction and road transport industries have been concerned with the same issue and a recent multiple business agreement in the construction industry in the ACT has been registered between an alliance of employers and the Building Trades Group of Unions.

(Australian Industrial Law; newsletter 3/2000, March 2000)


Statistics on AWAs from the Office of the Employment Advocate

There were 94,990 AWAs approved as at 29 February 2000

· 1899 employers have successfully used the AWA provisions of the Workplace Relations Act

· 1416 AWAs have been refused.

· The retail industry has 16% of all AWAs; property and business services have 10%

· 15% of AWAs cover casual employees

· 75% cover private businesses, 16% cover the public service and 9% cover not for profit organisations

AWAs by size of workplace

· 6% of AWAs were from workplaces of less than 20 employees

· workplaces of between 20 and 99 employees had 15% of AWAs

· Workplaces of between 100-499 emplyees had 42%

· workplaces of over 500 employees had 37%.

A significant proportion of AWAs cover more than one employee at a workplace. 26% of AWAs cover between 2 and 5 employees while 30% cover between 6 and 20 employees. Only 19% cover one employee.

(Australian Industrial Law; newsletter 3/2000, March 2000; ADAM Report; no. 24, March 2000)

Casual and Part-Time Employment - Innovative Clauses

Some agreements are showing new methods of dealing with the increase in casual and part-time employment. In the hospitality area, casual employment is being phased out in one CBD agreement for flexible part-time workers, which allows the organisation to retain employees and provide security of employment. In the food manufacturing industry, an agreement annualises hours for part-time workers, allowing very flexible rostering arrangements. In the transport industry, a new agreement provides casual employees with sick leave and annual leave entitlements.

(ADAM Report; no. 24, March 2000)

[email protected] a Loss: members and earnings

Mark Cully

The [email protected] paper from the ACTU focuses on the problems unions have in confronting the shrinking employment levels in traditionally organised areas and the need to organise, organise, organise in the growing areas of employment.

One way of doing this is emphasising the superior wages of union members, which of course creates a tension as employers may see it as an opportunity to cut costs by avoiding union negotiations.

The focus is on part-time and casual work in service industries. There has been a relative decline in membership rates amongst part-time and casual workers since 1992 (also the period of rapid decline in overall membership levels).

Larger workplaces are also more likely to be union bases, indicating some employer support for unions, which can be useful for negotiation and change. With the Workplace relations Act and the generally hostile attitude of the federal Government, larger employers are also increasingly resistant to unions.

This last point illustrates the difficulties faced by unions when large institutional forces are hostile to their role. Much effort needs to go to organising but if employers and governments are antithetical to unions, it a tough struggle.

(Australian Bulletin of Labour; vol. 26, no. 1, March 2000)


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 50 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: The Gospel According To ...
Green Bans legend Jack Mundey looks back on his days in the BLF and the lessons that can be drawn from that experience today,
*  Unions: Spinning at the Casino
In the lead-up to this weekend's historic strike, active LHMU members at Sydney’s Star City Casino have been making their own news.
*  East Timor: Rebuilding From the Nightmare
NSW Attorney General Jeff Shaw travelled to Dili to get a first-hand perspective on the reconstruction work required.
*  History: Internal Democracy and the BLF
How the rank and file team that took over the BLF in the early sixties attempted to devolve power to the grassroots.
*  International: Towards Liberation
Zimbabwe trade unions are at the centre of the democratic struggle going on within the African Nation
*  Republic: The Referendum We Had To Have
Paul Norton finds some hope in last year's resounding defeat of the republic proposition.
*  Work/Time/Life: @work in the e-century
Marian Baird takes stock of how far we’ve come, or not come, in terms of our working life.
*  Review: Rocking the Foundations
Pat Fiske's wonderful documentary on the BLF should be compulsory viewing for anyone in the union movement talking about shifting to an Organising Model.

»  Sock Nazis Spark Casino Strike
»  Grave Fears Over Carr's Funeral Agenda
»  Packer, Pratt to Profit at Unions' Expense
»  Telstra Discrimination: 'Round one' to the Workers
»  Timor Fundraiser a Blast
»  Water workers flood CBD head office
»  Libs Plead for Help on IR
»  Employment National Workers Win CES Conditions
»  Teachers Deal Still Undone
»  Pressure Builds for Compo Pull-Out
»  Pacific Unions Increase Regional Ties
»  Ellis to Give May Day Toast
»  Special Comp: Just Who Are Our Friends?

»  Guest Report
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

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