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Monday, 13 December 1993
Page: 4455


Senator SHERRY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy) (10.12 p.m.) —I move:

(9)Clause 31, page 53, proposed section 170PH, lines 7 to 21, omit the section, substitute the following section:

72 hours' notice of action to be given

  "170PH.(1) Any action taken as mentioned in subsection 170PG(2) by an organisation of employees, a member of such an organisation, or an officer or employee of such an organisation acting in that capacity, is not protected action unless at least 72 hours' written notice of the intention to take the action has been given by the organisation to the other negotiating party or each of the other negotiating parties.

  "(2) Any action taken as mentioned in subsection 170PG(3) by the employer to lock out employees from their employment:

  (a)is not protected action unless at least 72 hours' written notice of the intended lockout has been given by the employer to the other negotiating party or each of the other negotiating parties; and

  (b)is not protected action in so far as it relates to a particular employees unless, at least 72 hours before the lockout begins, the employer has given written notice to the employee, or has taken other reasonable steps to notify the employee, of the intended lockout.

  "(3) A written notice or other notification under this section must state the nature of the intended action and the day when it will begin.

  "(4) A written notice or other notification under this section may be given before the start of the bargaining period.".

The amendment deals with a statutory right of an employer to lock out employees during a bargaining period. During consultation on this bill, employer representatives pointed out that the requirement in proposed section 170PH that at least 72 hours written notice be given to each affected employee was unduly onerous. The amendment will provide for written notice or other reasonable steps to be taken to inform an employee at least 72 hours before the lockout. The employer will still have to give at least 72 hours written notice to the federally registered union which is involved in the negotiations for an agreement.