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Senate releases report on Fair Work Bill Inquiry

The Senate Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has released its report on an inquiry into the Fair Work Bill 2008 (the Bill).

The majority, consisting of Labor senators, have recommended only 13 technical amendments be made to the Bill, while the Coalition has voiced general concerns for the legislation but not made any recommendations. The Greens, on the other hand, have argued for more substantial change and proposed 11 amendments.

In its submission to the Senate, AREEA called for consideration of more than thirty amendments to address the problems in the Fair Work Bill.

While the majority report clearly acknowledged the concerns voiced by AREEA in relation to changes to union right of entry, it said the argument that the policy change expands unions’ rights and would lead to costly demarcation disputes was ‘unfounded’. Similarly, AREEA’s concerns with the minimum safety net, such as the cashing out of leave and inability to average hours over a period longer than 26 weeks were noted but not acted on by the majority. AREEA’s fears greenfields agreement provisions would allow one union to frustrate bargaining, and concern for the rights of unions to access non members’ records were also sidelined.

Download a copy of the AREEA Submission here.

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