Modia Minotaur

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

WorkFarces Rattles On

Though it has received nearly no publicity (which, I'm sure, is just how the Federal Government prefers it), the NSW Government last week received official confirmation that the High Court would hear its challenge against the WorkChoices legislation. The case challenges the constitutional legitimacy of WorkChoices on the basis that it utilises the section of the Australian Constitution relating to Corporations, not Industrial Relations, and thus represents a perversion and misuse of the Constitution. The hearing begins on the 8th of May.

In the meantime, there is some evidence that employers are not rubbing their hands in fond anticipation of WorkChoices, with a large proportion of prefering to renegotiate EBAs now rather than wait until WorkChoices comes into force. This is despite the recommendations of our good pals, Australian Business Ltd, who have suggested good employers sit it out until they are allowed by law to really sink the boot into their employees.

But when exactly will that be? Astoundingly, the government are still refusing to give an exact date, beyond `roughly mid March'. For those unfortunate workplaces whose employers ARE refusing to renegotiate EBAs until WorkChoices is introduced (for the details on one, see the MEAA's blog), workers are stuck in limbo. Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews has recently cancelled yet another of what was supposed to be a series of regular briefing meetings with state and territory Industrial Relations Ministers. Few of these meetings have actually occurred, and the latest was supposed to be the last before the legislation was to go into force. It's a farcical situation when even the Ministers themselves are being kept in the dark.

We're hearing far too little about this in the mainstream media ... perhaps it's the calm before the storm.

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