Gillard’s IR laws need rework: Lib MPs

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 20-Aug-19

Liberal MPs Tim Wilson, Jason Falinski and Andrew Bragg have called for changes to unfair dismissal laws that were introduced when Julia Gillard was the Labor government’s industrial relations minister. The trio argues that Labor’s Unfair Dismissal Code has also been ineffective, and the number of unfair dismissal cases heard by the Fair Work Commission has risen sharply under Labor’s reforms. A recent review of the code by Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell recommended 15 changes to it.

CORPORATES
LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN

CFMEU slapped with $65m in penalties

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 24-Jul-19

The federal government has released data showing that the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime & ­Energy Union has incurred about $65m worth of legal costs and court fines for breaching workplace laws since 2004. This includes court penalties totalling $28.6m in Victoria, with the bulk of these penalties having been incurred in cases involving controversial state secretary John Setka. The government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill will be put before the lower house on 24 July, and is aimed at making it easier to deregister unions and other registered organisations.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT

Coalition to reshape workplace landscape

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 27-Jun-19

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter says the federal government’s review of industrial relations laws will take 6-9 months. He adds that the government may pursue legislative changes before the next election if such reforms would increase jobs, boost wages and strengthen the economy. Amongst other things, the review will consider changes to unfair dismissal laws, the processes for approving enterprise agreements and a revised definition of ­casual employment. The government’s more immediate legislative priorities include passing the Ensuring Integrity Bill and stricter regulation of workers’ entitlement funds.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

IR law too complex to get pay right

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 26-Jun-19

Former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the employee underpayment scandal demonstrates that Australia’s workplace relations system is too complex and needs to be reviewed. She argues that "fundamental misunderstandings" about industrial awards and enterprise agreements are causing workers to be underpaid. Employers’ groups have advocated changes to the procedures for approving enterprise bargaining agreements, amid a blowout in the average number of days the Fair Work Commission takes to approve them and a sharp increase in EBAs that are approved only after employers agree to additional undertakings.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, BEAUREPAIRS, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), ACTU, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, COLES SUPERMARKETS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED. CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK

Union fines hit $4m as boss put workers ‘in harm’s way’

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 7-Jun-19

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has been fined $137,000 over the conduct of Richard Hassett, the head of its Tasmanian branch. The Federal Court ruled that he had unlawfully entered a Devonport building site and repeatedly attempted to disrupt the operation of a crane. Hassett was fined $22,000, while the CFMMEU has now been fined $4.1m in total for breaching workplace laws so far in 2018-19.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION

ALP vow: permanent work for casuals

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 24-Apr-19

Labor has doubled down on the Coalition’s commitment to legislate to allow casual workers to apply to become permanent employees after 12 months of regular and ongoing work with the same employer. Labor will also amend the Fair Work Act to allow such workers to legally challenge a refusal of their request to become a permanent employee. More than 50 per cent of Australia’s 2.6 million casual employees have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Lecturer sues Sydney Uni over sacking

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 18-Apr-19

Former lecturer Tim Anderson has launched an unfair dismissal claim against the University of Sydney and deputy vice-chancellor Stephen Garton. The university claims that he was dismissed for breaching its code of conduct and public comment policy. The National Tertiary Education Union in turn alleges that the teaching material and social media posts that led to Anderson’s sacking are protected under clauses in the university’s enterprise agreement relating to intellectual freedom. In addition, it contends that his sacking was unlawful under provisions of the Fair Work Act concerning political opinion.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, NATIONAL TERTIARY EDUCATION INDUSTRY UNION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY

Call for rethink on work sex claims

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 28-Feb-19

The ACTU and the Australian Council of Social Service are among the groups that have urged changes to the Fair Work Act to allow complaints about sexual harassment in the workplace to be heard by the Fair Work Commission. The joint submission to the national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment contends that the current system is flawed and can result in complainants being victimised again when their case heard in court.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICE, FEDERATION OF COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRES

Strike laws like apartheid: union boss

Original article by Rachel Baxendale
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 4-Feb-19

ACTU secretary Sally McManus claims that Australia has the most restrictive strike laws among developed nations. In a 100-page essay published by Melbourne University Press, she also likens Australia’s strike laws to the apartheid system in South Africa, the British Raj and racial segregation in the US. McManus also defends her 2017 comments in which she said it is acceptable to break unjust laws, while she criticises the trade union royal commission, privatisation and executive bonuses.

CORPORATES
ACTU, MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY PRESS, UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND DENTISTRY OF NEW JERSEY, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA

Labor plan to criminalise wage theft may backfire

Original article by Anna Patty
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: 5 : 3-Jan-19

University of Melbourne researchers Melissa Kennedy and John Howe have questioned the constitutional validity of Labor’s proposal for state laws aimed at addressing wage exploitation. They say the proposed laws in New South Wales and Victoria could conflict with federal laws such as the Fair Work Act, raising the possibility of a constitutional challenge. They have also raised concerns that criminalising wage theft could undermine the Fair Work Ombudsman’s ability to recover workers’ entitlements.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN