Sunday, July 01, 2007

Church attacks Fair Pay Commission

Just days before the Australian Fair Pay Commission is expected to hand down its second minimum wage decision, since the Howard Government established it, the Catholic Church has attacked the way the Commission makes decisions for low-paid workers.

"ACCER has also called for changes in relation to the setting of minimum wages in order to protect the financial position of families and to make fairness the primary obligation of the wage-setting authority,'' ACCER chairman Brian Lawrence said.

Return wage setting to the Industrial Relations Commission
"The wage-setting function should be returned to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) and all members of the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) should be appointed to the AIRC,'' the ACCER media statement said.

The ACCER found that Work Choices does not provide proper balance between the rights of employers and the rights of workers and changes are needed to address this.

New Govt fairness test rejected
"ACCER rejects the recently introduced fairness test as insufficient," Mr Lawrence said.

The Church body said Work Choices undermines the rights of working people to act collectively, frustrates unions in the representation of their members' interests and attempts to make them ineffective in the workplace.

Calling for more changes to Work Choices the ACCER said the work laws continue to give the Church body cause for concern in several respects.

Work laws must be changed
"The legislation does not make sufficient provision for unions to effectively represent their members and for workers to join together in the pursuit of collective enterprise agreements.

"Second, the AIRC, which has lost its century-long capacity to conciliate and arbitrate disputes according to law and industrial principle, has sufficient powers and breadth of jurisdiction to resolve the merits of industrial disputes.

"Third, the current provisions for the making and variation of awards are inadequate to secure a fair outcome for those who do not have the capacity to bargain for greater benefits.

"All of these require changes to the legislation."


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