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News News Unions fight for employee who was sacked for being on a union agreement
THE Howard's Government's workplace laws face a new test through a push to overturn a contentious ruling that effectively allowed an employer to sack a worker in an effort to reduce union influence.

Unions will appeal to the full bench of the Industrial Relations Commission over the commission ruling that found a company fired a worker largely because he was on an "inflexible" union agreement.

Unions fear the decision means employers will be able to dismiss workers provided they show reasons other than the union agreement.

A Melbourne glass manufacturer used operational reasons under the federal workplace laws to sack the machinist on a union agreement. The company wanted to shift employees to individual contracts.

The commission found the company apparently sacked the worker "predominantly" because he was on a union agreement.

But while the commission found this was apparently unlawful, it said there were other reasons for the sacking, including a downturn in the business. Commissioner John Lewin said the operation of Work Choices meant the commission did not have the power to determine if the sacking was unreasonable.

However, he said the worker could pursue action in the Federal Court to determine if the sacking breached freedom of association provisions preventing dismissal on the grounds of union membership.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union said it intended to have its appeal heard by the commission.

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