Tuesday, March 18, 2008

End of line for AWAs

The Coalition voted for the demise of Australian Workplace Agreements, supporting the Rudd Government's first industrial relations bill.

And employers expecting to force AWAs through before the end of the system have to face the fact that outstanding deals will take many months to approve.

The new IR laws, which begin dismantling many of the Howard government's changes, including the 2005 Work Choices law, are likely to be passed in the coming days after the report by a Senate inquiry yesterday. While the Coalition senators had concerns about the bill, they did not offer a contrary position to the committee's finding that that bill should be passed.

The House of Representatives passed the new legislation on the voices and without dissent.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard told parliament that as of last month, 298,524 agreements had been lodged for assessment with 160,154 of them finalised and 138,000 waiting for approval.

"At the average rate of processing countenanced by the Howard government, processing this backlog would take eight months; eight months where employers and working Australians would have no idea whether or not the agreement that they were working under was lawful," she said.

"If you were told it has failed eight months after it has been made, then that quantum of back pay could break a small business.

"That is the shambles that was Work Choices, brought to this country by the Liberal Party of Australia."

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