Test sacking policy not helpful

UnionsWA has today commented on a proposal by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA calling for legislative changes to remove unfair dismissal protections for those subject to drug-testing. The full statement for media follows and this is Meredith addressing media today:

Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:

“The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA is suggesting a simple approach to a complex social problem that affects individual, families, communities and workplaces.

"Of course unions want to ensure that work and workplaces are safe for everyone.

“Employers already have access to fair mechanisms to manage work performance that do lead to dismissal.

“But to remove safeguards that protect against unfair dismissal is not a solution.

“This proposal is likely to cause harm.

“A Parliamentary Report of those working FIFO who were regularly drug tested found that some stopped taking medication for depression fearing that it might be incorrectly tested or be used against them in employment.

“Wholesale workforce drug testing puts at risk people’s right to privacy.

“Someone who is sacked should be able to challenge their dismissal before an industrial umpire to answer key questions.

“Should one test cost someone their job and livelihood?

“Was a substance enough to impair safe work?

“We know that work fatigue is a serious risk to work safety, yet employers apply unreasonably long work rosters.

“Such work pressures can contribute to substance use. 

“As a community we’re trying to fight the causes of drug abuse, yet employers are making themselves part of the problem.”

Further information

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA Report on ‘Ice Land: WA Workplaces Fight Deadly Drug’ is available here.

Report regarding use of anti-depression medication and testing available here.

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