Church leaders worried about Howard IR changes

Christian church leaders have requested a meeting with Prime Minister John Howard to express concerns about the Federal Government's workplace relations changes.

Australian Associated Press reports that the National Council of Churches (NCCA), which includes leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, and Uniting churches, as well as 12 other national church groupings, say they are concerned about the impact on workers and want to meet the Prime Minister.

"We are uneasy about the bottom line in all this," said NCCA general secretary Rev John Henderson (pictured). "If this is about Australia remaining competitive as a nation, as Mr Howard has said, then it should not be achieved at the expense of Australian workers and their families.

"The value of each worker is not as a commodity, but as a person, a human being, loved by God. Our community has values that are more important than economics."

The council called on the Federal Government to "slow down and step back from its apparent haste".

"To rush into this would be to risk a disaster for everyone," Mr Henderson said.

Meanwhile in Victoria, an ecumenical service was led by Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins on behalf of the Victorian Council of Churches.

And in Canberra, Unions ACT has indicated that Canberra-Goulburn Catholic Archdiocese Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power will join speakers at a forum at Old Parliament House in Canberra today.

In northern NSW, members of the NSW Teachers Federation and members of the Independent Education Union (IEU) will attend statewide Sky Channel broadcasts on Friday to protest against attacks on their rights at work. Rick Johnston, the director of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Armidale, said the IEU is concerned about the Federal Government's proposed industrial reforms legislation.

CathNews has also received a copy of a letter that Unions NSW wrote to religious leaders in the states asking them to set aside time last weekend for reflection and prayer on the issue of workplace relations.

Church leaders have IR concerns (Australian Associated Press/Daily Telegraph 29/6/05)
Minister's staff in strike action (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 28/6/05)
Teachers' union members stop work Friday (Northern Daily Leader 28/6/05)
RE: Workplace Relations Changes (Unions NSW 28/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
National Council of Churches in Australia
Unions ACT | Campaign
Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations

Bishop hits back at Minister's claims on IR reforms 1/6/05)
Catholic body seeks meeting with Minister over workplace laws (CathNews 30/5/05)

Churches uneasy over industrial bill (Sydney Morning Herald 29/6/05)
Neil Ormerod: Howard and the unions - A Catholic response (Online Catholics 29/6/05)
Unions Launch National Week Of Action To Protest Govt's New Workplace Laws (ACTU 27/6/05)

29 Jun 2005