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Resource sector employers to discuss growing list of union-specific demands

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THE interim results of an AREEA/RMIT study into the impacts of Fair Work laws on the resource and construction sectors discussed at an Adelaide forum today have highlighted the need for an urgent review of the laws.

One year on after the Fair Work Act came into full operation and resource industry employers are reporting a significant increase in the number of union-specific terms and conditions being added to the agreement making process.

Steve Knott, Chief Executive on the nation’s largest resource industry employers group, AREEA, said a recent survey of employers across the sector had found that of those employers who had commenced new agreement negotiations, 77.3 per cent had recorded unions pursuing clauses that were prohibited under the previous workplace laws.

Mr Knott said that of those employers who had entered into negotiations:

  • 76.5 per cent had experienced unions demanding union training leave clauses in enterprise agreements;
  • 52.9 per cent had experienced unions pursuing clauses facilitating payroll deduction of union fees;
  • 11.8 per cent had experienced union clauses requiring workplaces to have a union office placed on-site.

“The industrial tactics of the past have no place in the modern workplaces of today and tomorrow. As such, the old-school tactics of union officials attempting to secure their ongoing relevance to the workplace by attempting to force themselves into workplaces and onto workers should be consigned to the play books of history.” Mr Knott said.

Of the employers within the sector involved in bargaining, over 90% also reported an increase in industrial activity and strikes during agreement making.

Mr Knott said resource industry employers would be meeting in Adelaide today to discuss these as well as a number of other issues surrounding the Fair Work Act.

“We are also keen to discuss our concerns with both Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott,”

“Given up to two thirds of the resources sector are entering into new bargaining rounds over the next twelve months – the last thing the sector can afford at the moment is for the agreement making process to get bogged down.” Mr Knott said.

Mr Knott said Adelaide forum would also address a number of other issues that had been identified of concern to resource industry employers such as: inconsistencies in Fair Work Australia rulings; a massive increase in union right of entry demands; concerns over the privacy of employee contracts; and, problems with the creation of Greenfield agreements under the Fair Work Act.


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