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Even Brereton's retreat not enough for ACTU



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NEWS RELEASE

JOHN HOWARD, M.P. MEMBER FOR BENNELONG SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL. RELATIONS. EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

EVEN BRERETONS RETREAT NOT ENOUGH FOR ACTU

Laurie Brereton looks headed for spectacular defeat at the hands of the ACTU over the issue of workplace bargaining.

Even his watered down version of workplace bargaining which would deny genuine equality for non-unionists has apparently been rejected by the ACTU.

It has been confirmed to me that the Brereton plan involves the following :

- a simple majority of non-unionists in a workplace could resolve to make a workplace agreement with their employer.

- application of the "no disadvantage" test would provide the minimum for such agreements.

- the agreements would need industrial relations commission approval; unions could intervene before the commission and oppose any agreements negotiated by non-unionists.

- hearings before the commission would be public, so would the agreements.

Such a system (the Brereton option) would make a mockery of the Governments claim that it will extend workplace bargaining rights to non-unionists.

The requirement of IRC approval with the right for unions to oppose approval effectively means no freedom at all for non-unionists.

Knowing that he must run such a gauntlet no employer in his right mind will do other then deal directly with the relevant union in the first place so as to avoid the expense and delay of a contested hearing before the Industrial Relations Commission.

That, of course, is exactly what the government wants. It wants to maintain the privileged monopoly position of the unions while pretending it has given freedom to non-unionists.

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Yet even that capitulation does not appear enough for the ACTU.

It reportedly is opposed to this pale imitation of true workplace bargaining.

Apparently however Mr Brereton and the ACTU do agree on one thing. They are both resolved to emasculate sections 45 D and E of the Trade Practices Act by transferring them to the Industrial Relations Act.

Such a move would completely wreck their effectiveness as a weapon of protection for small business because their use would be conditional upon prior hearings before an industrial tribunal.

The capacity to quickly obtain injunctive relief against unfair union conduct would be totally destroyed.

ends

15 August 1993

Contact: Mr John Howard (02) 439 4360