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News Media Releases Barnett set to introduce WorkChoices in WA
Barnett set to introduce WorkChoices in WA
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 09:59

The worst fears of West Australian unions have been realised with Colin Barnett set to introduce WorkChoices for more than 300,000 WA workers.

The radical changes were outlined yesterday in the long overdue Amendola review of WA’s industrial relations system.

In a flimsy two page response Mr Barnett appeared to rule out some of the structural changes recommended in the Amendola report but did not rule out changes that would weaken the Award safety net, gut the independent umpire, weaken unfair dismissal laws  and force workers to sign individual contracts in WA workplaces.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said that the recommendations included the worst features of Workchoices

“When releasing the report yesterday the Commerce minister said the Barnett Government would introduce 60 percent of the 193 recommendations and released a two page report which outlined the changes which the government did not intend to make. After considering the recommendations the Government does not plan to implement it is clear that Mr Barnett plans to introduce the worst features of WorkChoices.

“Mr Barnett’s Christmas gift to more than 300,000 West Australians workers is a plan to force workers to sign individual contracts and strip the award system by abolishing many existing conditions provided in awards.

“Mr Barnett also plans to gut the independent umpire and make it harder and more expensive for workers to access the weakened WAIRC.

“The Premier also plans effectively abolish unfair dismissal protection for West Australians working in small businesses and on top of this make changes will intimidate workers into not raising issues including those relating to workplace safety with their Union.”
Ms McGurk said Mr Barnett has form when it comes to unfair workplace laws.

“Colin Barnett was a senior Minister in the Court Government when it introduced individual contracts and cut minimum standards for West Australian workers.”

“When in Opposition, Mr Barnett supported the Howard Government’s WorkChoices laws which abolished the award safety net and cut minimum standards in Australian workplaces.

“Now as Premier Mr Barnett has paid a former Howard Government industrial relations advocate, Steven Amendola, more than $850,000 to produce a road map for introducing WorkChoices in WA.

“Mr Barnett’s fingerprints are all over this report. He handpicked Mr Amendola to get the review he wanted and he is now trying to sneak through his radical changes.

“West Australians have a right to be angry this morning. Mr Barnett has had all year to release this report to Parliament but has chosen to arrogantly slip through his radical changes after Parliament has risen for the year and while everyone is distracted in the lead up to Christmas.

“They have cherry picked the weakest parts of the Fair Work Act and specifically excluded the objectives relating to fairness in the workplace.

“These changes are a slight against the very principles of what unions stand for and as such we will be campaigning through 2011 to protect the rights of West Australian workers.”

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