Senator Michaelia Cash didn’t pull any punches when she identified the target of the Federal Government’s proposed industrial relations reforms: “militant … radical unions”. Speaking in the current issue of Workplace Review, the new Minister for Employment said the influence of “radical unions has consequences for the entire country in terms of our ability to capitalise on opportunities for growth and job creation.”
Rejecting claims by Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) Construction Division National Secretary, Dave Noonan, that the Fair Work building industry watchdog pursues a “partisan” agenda against the CFMEU, Senator Cash said unlawful practices in the building and construction industry resulted in higher costs and project delays. She said “meaningful penalties” should be imposed on unions for illegal conduct and that re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission is vital to ensuring the rule of law in the industry.
The Senator’s remarks were made against the background of the Productivity Commission review of the Federal “workplace relations framework” and the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. These inquiries have been perceived in some quarters as the Federal Government setting the scene for its campaign for controversial industrial relations reform in this Federal election year.
In two articles in the current issue of Workplace Review, the findings of both Commissions are discussed comprehensively. Not surprisingly, the outcomes are vigorously contested by employer and employee groups and other interested parties. Take the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that Sunday penalty rates be brought into line with lower Saturday rates. The National Retail Association said this would create a “jobs bonanza”, while the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) expressed concern that minimum wage workers would be disproportionately hit.
All these articles and much more in the current edition – Summer 2016 (Volume 7 Part 1) – of your journal of people, practice, cases and trends in workplace relations, Workplace Review. Available now!
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