Employer group wants ‘significant tightening’ of new IR laws

Key employer body the Australian Industry Group says the Rudd Government must tighten its Fair Work industrial relations bill to ensure that the new regime can work in the difficult economic conditions Australia faces.

Key employer body the Australian Industry Group says the Rudd Government must tighten its Fair Work industrial relations bill to ensure that the new regime can work in the difficult economic conditions Australia faces.

The AIG’s submission to the Senate inquiry into the Fair Work bills calls for significant tightening in several core areas, including:

  • Reducing the rights of union officials to access worksite and employee records.
  • Ensuring unions are only party to an enterprise agreement if the majority of a company’s employees are union members.
  • Scrapping of the separate bargaining regime for low-paid workers.

AIG chief executive Heather Ridout says the Government needs to be aware of the environment in which it is seeking to introduce the Fair Work regime.

“Unlike the last round of workplace relations legislative reforms, the Fair Work bill is being introduced in an immensely tough and challenging economic environment.

“The global financial crisis and economic slowdown are yet to be fully felt by Australian companies, and employers are bracing themselves. Businesses need to remain highly flexible and adaptable in order to survive the tough times ahead.”

Ridout has also stressed that the bill is to be introduced during a year when more than 5000 enterprise agreements expire, including 1300 in the manufacturing industry.

“Industry needs clear and rigorous bargaining laws and, while the Government has incorporated important protections, the bill needs further tightening in a number of important areas.”

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