IR Shorts

NSW defies Canberra and gives low paid a $20 pay rise

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has delivered a $20 pay rise to 500,000 low-paid workers employed under NSW awards.

Unions NSW Secretary John Robertson welcomed the decision, but warned that if the NSW Liberals win power at the next state election, it would be the last case of its kind.

’NSW Opposition leader Peter Debnam has signalled he will hand over the NSW award system to Canberra, where the unfair WorkChoices laws will determine wages into the future.

’Already we have seen the so-called Fair Pay Commission ruling an effective 18-month pay freeze for workers employed under the federal system – a fate that awaits NSW workers as well.’

The NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, also supported the NSW IRC decision.

‘Given the recent interest rate rise and spiralling fuel costs, this extra money will help take some of the pressure off these workers and their families,’ he said.

WorkChoices endangers economy and interest rates, says economic forecaster

According to BIS Shrapnel’s Economic Outlook bulletin, the federal government’s failure to invest in skills training and public infrastructure will impact on the future growth of the Australian economy and could lead to future interest rate raises.

The report is also critical of the Howard Government’s new industrial relations laws saying they will do nothing to assist Australia’s economic growth. It suggests that all the new laws will do is increase business profits at the expense of employees’ wages and living standards.

‘The policy problem for the Australian Government is that, to improve growth, the economy needs measures that improve labour productivity and increase the pool of skilled labour,’ said BIS Shrapnel senior economist Mathew Hassan.

‘The federal government’s latest WorkChoices legislation will do little to improve either and is deflecting the debate away from how to grow the pie bigger, to how best to cut it up.

$1.67 an hour is enough for a solo mum, says Kevin Andrews
The federal government has introduced guidelines for pay considered ‘financially suitable’ for sole parents moving off welfare. Single parents are now forced to look for work when their youngest child reaches 6, for at least 15 hours per week, even if it only nets them an extra $25.

This slave wage is recommended in guidelines released by Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews. If the parent refuses work she will lose her payments for eight weeks.

Nats leader tells us something we already know
NSW Nationals leader Andrew Stoner has called his colleague Kevin Andrews a d..khead over the federal government’s industrial relations changes.

The Nats leader said if Andrews was putting productivity ahead of fairness he was ‘a d..khead,’ the Daily Telegraph reported.
Stoner also revealed he did not know the federal government had abolished the no-disadvantage test for AWAs and that he had ‘a problem’ with the move.

Cobb goes missing rather than front nurses
Federal Member for Parkes, John Cobb, is under fire from local aged care nurses for failing to answer their questions on the new federal industrial relations laws.

Five straightforward scenarios were put to Mr Cobb by a group of Parkes nurses, previously employed at the Niola Nursing Home, during a meeting in his Parkes office on 28 June.

The nurses were made redundant on 14 June after the nursing home, using the new federal industrial relations laws, told them they must take a pay cut or lose their job.

Cobb has been asked to outline his position on the consequences for his constituents of the laws passed by his government.
As The Lamp went to print Cobb had failed to reply.