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Latham wrong on AWAs.



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THE HON KEVIN ANDREWS MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS MINISTER ASSISTING THE PRIME MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE

Media Release

09804

Latham wrong on AWAs

Mark Latham underscored his ignorance of modern workplace relations with confirmation in Karratha yesterday that he will scrap Australian Workplace Agreements.

Mr Latham claimed that just two percent of workers were currently employed under AWAs.

If Mr Latham knew anything about workplace relations he would know that AWAs operate under the federal system and under that system for which the federal government is responsible - 16 percent of employees covered by federal agreements are now on AWAs.

Further, he would have known:

● Each month an additional 12,000 working Australians make AWAs with their employer;

● That 458,224 AWAs have been made since 1997, when they first became available;

● Average weekly AWA earnings are higher than collective agreements earnings - $1001.10

compared to $741.30; ● That in the private sector, AWA employees earn on average 23 percent more than employees

under collective agreements; and ● Women on AWAs earn 32 percent more than women on collective agreements.

It is ironic that Mr Latham’s fleeting tour of Western Australia was in a bus draped with a sign 'Opportunity for all' when he is dead set against AWAs that give workers the opportunity to earn more.

The fact is that AWAs offer the flexibility and choice that is unavailable under a comprehensive award system.

Mr Latham would like Australian workplaces to return to an award system that dictates how an employee

will account for every minute and hour of the day.

It is no wonder then that the use of AWAs has grown by 102 percent over the past 12 months in Western Australia as employees flee the WA State Government workplace relations system - the very system that federal Labor and Mr Latham want to mirror.

Mr Latham’s blind dogma on AWAs is a direct threat to how much people can earn and how they work.

Mark Latham yesterday confirmed he knew as little about modern workplace relations as he does about foreign affairs and defence.

In confirming that he would scrap Australian Workplace Agreements Mr Latham revealed his ignorance about how workplace relations should be structured to ensure continued prosperity and success.

For further information contact:

Ian Hanke 0409 715 861

16/04/2004