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Rio Tinto decision.

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Media Release


Hon Arch Bevis MP

Federal Member for Brisbane

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations




8 th October 1999


Yesterday’s Industrial Commission decision concerning Rio Tinto and the CFMEU signals the destruction of the independent umpire in Australian industrial relations, Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Arch Bevis, said today.


“The Commission refused to interfere in Rio Tinto’s decision to unilaterally change terms and conditions of employment to bolster their bargaining position, signalling a minimalist approach to exercising their arbitration powers. The decision confirms Mr Reith’s laws have sidelined the Commission.


“Even in a major dispute that has been going on for two years, the Commission has now said the law doesn’t allow them to effectively do anything. That’s bad news for all Australian workers who are now left with the law of the jungle. It is also bad news for companies, the vast majority of which simply want to get on with their business.


“In some industries, this will result in workers being exploited. In others, it will lead to prolonged industrial warfare. Both parties are left without an independent umpire in resolving their disputes and that is bad for all Australians.


“This is yet another example of Mr Reith’s divisive and biased industrial relations laws. All this from the Government who assured Australian workers that they would not be worse off- tell that to the miners at Hunter Valley No. 1 who are $150 per week worse off.


“This decision should ring alarm bells for the Democrats not to support Mr Reith’s second wave of industrial relations laws,” Mr Bevis said.


For further information contact:

David Tansey 02 6277 4518 0416 136 164 Moira Farrelly 07 3356 1888 0408 440 580



rw  1999-10-13  09:50