UnionsWA has today commented on the announcement by the WA Government of a review of West Australian industrial relations system. Over 100,000 working West Australians are covered under these WA laws, including those on the WA Minimum Wage, apprentices, trainees and those employed in small business.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“It has been fifteen years since the WA industrial relations laws were last updated.
“Since then, much has changed.
“We need to ensure our industrial relations system provides a fair and strong safety net for working West Australians; many are vulnerable working people.
“Working people rely on having access to a strong Industrial Relations Commission.
“WA has the worst gender pay gap of any jurisdiction in Australia, so the inclusion in the Terms of Reference of consideration of an equal remuneration provision is welcomed.
“Often in industries where women tend to be employed, wages are lower compared with similar work in other industries.
“The reference for the review to consider the definition of “worker” is also very important.
“The so-called “gig” economy relies on a business model where employees are exploited as sub-contractors rather than legally defined and protected as an employee.
“These subcontracting arrangements leave the risk and responsibility for taxation, workers’ compensation and insecure income to sub-contractors.
“This review is also welcomed as an opportunity to address the increasing incidence of wage theft.
“Protection of penalty rates will be a priority for the many low paid working West Australians.
“It is important that working people have a voice in this review.
“The processes of consultation will be important for ensuring this input.”
The statement for media from Minister Johnston, including terms of reference for the review, are available online here.