The Australian Catholic Commission for Employment relations has labelled "pattern bargaining" an "appropriate approach" for some employees and workplaces, the Catholic Weekly reports.
   The commission was responding to the Federal Government's Workplace Relations Amendment Bill 2000 referred by the Senate to a committee earlier this month.
   The Bill seeks to define and curb pattern bargaining - a process whereby unions attempt to secure common outcomes in regard to wages and conditions across a range of employers in the same industry.
   Although the commission had not finalised its submission at the time of publication, executive officer, John Ryan, said the commission had drawn attention to the issue in previous submissions to committees on workplace relations bills. He said that he expected the current submission would draw heavily on these.
   "It should be noted that some parties might seek to bargain in this manner, as it might be the most appropriate approach for their particular industry or workplace," the commission has noted previously. The commission has drawn particular attention to the not-for-profit sectors of health, education and welfare, where the Catholic Church is one of the country's biggest employers.
   "Such an approach to employment matters is consistent with their philosophical approach to the delivery of services. Furthermore, in some areas, where the funding arrangements are centralised for all employers, it would appear unnecessary and impractical for individual enterprise bargaining to occur."
Cath Weekly
24 May 00


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