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Cabinet should reject waterfront agreement



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MEDIA RELEASE COMMONWEALTH

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CABINET SH3ULD REJECT WAS

SENATOR FRED CHANEY DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

ST AGREEMENT

102/89

The Hawke Government will have a chance next week to salvage at least a shied of its micro economic credibility by rejecting the "In Principle Agreement" reached by the employers and unions in the waterfront industry.

The agreement is a recipe for further stagnation at taxpayers' expense. It will ensure that the waterfront remains inefficient and unreliable.

It represents yet a further watering down of the recommendations of the Inter­ State Commission.

While it purports to introduce enterprise employment it does so in name only. It completely fails to give employers any real ability to manage their own labour force.

Existing employees retain their right to a job for life. New employees cannot be made redundant for at least three years.

Nor are employers given the normal right to decide how to recruit their employees or to manage the size and composition of their workforce.

The Agreement recognises these restrictions will lead to continued overmanning and includes a new industry levy to cover the costs. A pool is retained in the form of the "transitional labour List".

The Agreement contains nothing on restrictive work practices or more efficient rosters.

The In Principle Agreement will do absolutely nothing to introduce greater competition or to weaken the grip of the unions over the industry.

The Opposition has put forward a comprehensive strategy for reform of the waterfront.

This approach involves genuine enterprise employment, whereby employers have the normal freedom to hire and fire employees, and are able to determine the size and composition of their own labour force.

Levies should be completely abolished, and all labour costs met directly by individual employers.

Instead of industry awards, employers should be free to negotiate pay and conditions directly with their own employees.

Any Government money provided to fund redundancy arrangements should be conditional on the complete elimination of restrictive work practices.

Employers should be free to employ non unionists or members of unions not traditionally represented on the waterfront.

There should be more effective dispute settling procedures, including at the very least effective stand down provisions.

CANBERRA 29 September 1989 Contact: Keith Kessell (062) 77 3170