Amanda Gome

Industrial relations under Labor: get ready for the unfair dismissal nightmare to return.

Fair go, Mr Rudd

Unless Kevin Rudd mucks up big-time, he is likely to be Australia’s new Prime Minister – probably within six months.

So now business must really pay attention to the new IR regime that is probably coming its way.

Some of the detail we know. For an outline go to Labor’s IR policy revealed in today’s SmartCompany.

But what Labor will not tell business owners is its policy on unfair dismissal laws.

There is only one reason the Opposition is remaining mute on whether it will reintroduce these onerous rules. That’s because the intention is to bring the unfair dismissal rules back, in full. Don’t expect an exemption, even for very small business.

Expect Labor to spend the next six months talking about how they will look after the interests of small business and then at the last minute announce that although the rules are back, small business shouldn’t worry: a special tribunal or commission will be set up to fast-track small business complaints.

That will be no help whatsoever. Hard-working small-business owners, who have no HR departments and are already being engulfed by paperwork and red tape, will again have to deal with rules drawn up for larger businesses.

Most business owners find it extremely hard to move rogue employees on. Survey after survey show that it is one of their most hated task. They wait too long to do it and they desperately hope for an improvement in performance or a change in behaviour.

But it is a necessary part of business life. Bringing back laws that make it far harder to get rid of the bully, the slack worker or the underperformer is not the answer to Labor’s core platform: a fair Australia.

What is fair is letting small business know its true position on unfair dismissal.



R. Gartner writes: Fully agree with you. If Rudd does make Prime Minister, watch the union people come out of the woodwork. Notice how quiet they are now? You can bet that Rudd’s first move will be the unfair dismissal laws to protect the worker and make sure the nasty person who employs him is controlled. Then there will be the 15% compulsory superanuation contribution from employers. And you can bet the GST will go up to provide more for socialist reasons.



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