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Wednesday, 28 October 1970


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that International Labour Organisation Convention No. 104 prohibits penal sanctions for breaches of contract of employment by indigenous workers. (2)Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission has incorporated in the Pastoral Award a provision which authorises an employer to confiscate one week's wages of a shearing employee who breaches his contract of employment.

(3)   Which of the member States have ratified Convention No. 104.


Mr Snedden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Convention No. 104 - Abolition of Penal Sanctions (Indigenous Workers) 1955 provides that a ratifying country shall take action for the abolition of penal sanctions for breaches of contracts of employment by workers belonging to or assimilated to the dependent indigenous population of the country. 'Breach of contract' means refusal or failure to commence or perform the service stipulated in the contract, neglect of duty or lack of diligence, absence without permission or valid reason and desertion.

(2)   Under clause 42(g) of the Federal Pastoral Industry Award, an employee forfeits one week's earnings to his employer when he 'leaves his employment otherwise than as provided in subclause (d) or (e) of this clause. . . ' Sub-clauses (d) and (e) relate to discharge for incompetence, misconduct or absence from work through illness under specified conditions, to departure from employment in consequence of accident, sickness or other urgent necessity or with the permission of the employer, or, in the case of certain cooks in joint messes to discharge at the request of members of the mess. Whereas the Convention applies only to workers belonging to or assimilated to the dependent indigenous population of a country, the award applies to employees covered by it regardless of their race.

(3)   Brazil, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Iran, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Portugal, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia. United Arab Republic, Yemen.







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