Fair Work Australia
Craig Thomson claims he has been vindicated over the Fair Work Australia’s report into the HSU East Branch after an independent report found flaws with FWA’s investigation processes. Mr Thomson’s response is peculiar given it that this most recent report does not have a whole lot to do with him.
KPMG were asked to look only at the investigation methodology of FWA. They did not comment, nor was it within their ambit to comment on the findings. However critical of the methods of the investigation KPMG were, it does not flow that the findings made in the FWA HSU report would have changed.
It is however a blow to FWA’s credibility in being able to professionally exercise its powers under relevant workplace laws.
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Every big company has a line about corporate social responsibility, and what it contributes to the community. But there’s always a tension between corporate hype about being ethical, or a good corporate citizen, and the need to make a profit to stay afloat.
Business is a tough environment and business leaders are under immense pressure to deliver a good bottom line. Corporate philanthropy is fantastic, but in the end charity begins at home, with the way a company treats its workforce.
We are seeing a growing trend towards business avoiding their responsibilities, both to treat their workers well, and to the long-term future of our workforce.
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Australia is a great place to live. Our economy is strong, unemployment is low, companies are making good profits and real incomes are rising, as is our living standard.
The Fair Work Act is an important building block of that strength.
The facts show us that our workplace relations system is producing lower levels of industrial disputes, increasing profits and fostering agreement making while providing a workable safety net.
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So the Australian Industry Group’s Heather Ridout says yesterday’s historic equal pay decision by Fair Work Australia is “dangerous”, because it “will lead to a raft of union claims in other industries”. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry calls it “disturbing”.
Goodness, not another ‘dangerous precedent’. Dangerous precedents have peppered history – like votes for women, the American Civil Rights and the Mabo decision on native title.
Maybe AIG and ACCI have been catching up on some episodes of ‘Yes, Minister’, which defined a dangerous precedent for us: “if we do the right thing now, then we might be forced to the right thing again next time. And on that reasoning nothing should ever be done at all.” But this time something – the right thing - has been done.
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Update: In the very early hours of this morning Fair Work Australia terminated the chaotic industrial action between Qantas and the unions.Qantas says they expect flight to be grounded till 12noon today. With Alan Joyce telling the media flights may be back in the air by early afternoon today. Almost 70,000 passengers have been stranded in Australia and around the world.
“It’s good to fly Qantas,” said Tony Abbott, meaning to be heard, as yesterday afternoon he stepped from an aircraft at Canberra airport.
Actually the plane belonged to QantasLink, a related combine of three regional airlines, diverted from Mildura to pick up passengers in Melbourne.
But it was the closest any of us got to a Qantas service yesterday. And Tony Abbott is the closest that Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has to a friend in Australian public life at the moment.
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The federal Labor government announced on Wednesday of last week that it would “meet it’s responsibilities” to fund equal pay for community workers.
This announcement represents one more step toward wage justice for people working in the sector, whose equal remuneration case has been running for over a year.
It came after intensive lobbying efforts by those same workers and union members, who were emailing, calling and dancing for equal pay in the weeks leading up to this most recent commitment.
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One of the worst features of the old industrial relations system was the so-called “go away money”.
This was the practice of employers paying amounts, usually in the order of $5,000 - $10,000, but sometimes much higher, to employees making an unfair dismissal claim.
It was a particular burden for small businesses who could not afford expensive HR managers, or the legal and time costs of defending a claim, no matter the merits.
It has now become clear that the old practices have returned.
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