Govt IR detail fails to ease Commission's concern

The Federal Government's "softened" and more detailed outline of its proposed new system of workplace relations does not appear to address fundamental concerns about fairness and balance, according to the Catholic Church's employment relations body.

CLICK HEREIn its September Briefing on the Government's proposals to reform workplace relations in Australia, the Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (ACCER) identified five major areas of concern - the minimum wage, unfair dismissals, minimum conditions, workplace bargaining, and the role of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

ACCER Executive Officer John Ryan said yesterday that the setting of the minimum wage, if based on the single adult worker as already announced by the Government, would impact on low paid families.

"A job without a fair wage will not help the unemployed successfully move off welfare," he said.

"The interaction of the day to day living costs of families with the taxation and welfare systems must be part of any understanding of the modern family wage. Government has a role to play in ensuring an appropriate balance between the worker's pay packet and the public purse."

"The security of families and their ability to provide for their future is further reduced if employment can be terminated without any fair process and reason," Mr Ryan said. "Not just families but young single workers also need to be able to plan with some certainty for their future needs and commitments."

Mr Ryan expressed concern that new employees in workplaces, especially industrially vulnerable and young workers without bargaining power, could be particularly exposed to the offering of reduced employment arrangements.

"This could impact on their ability to meet mortgage payments and to afford educational opportunities in the future," he said.

Meanwhile the Sydney Morning Herald reports today that Sydney's Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen warned that changes that affected the sanctity of Sundays risk turning workers into robots. It also says that Mr Howard indicated yesterday that he is writing to church leaders and has met the Anglican Primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall. The Herald also says that Cardinal George Pell has also previously expressed his reservations about the impact of the workplace changes.

Continuing concerns about workplace changes - ACCER (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 10/10/05)
Workplace for robots: PM under fire (Sydney Morning Herald 11/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations | Industrial Relations Reform (ACCER October 2005)
Workchoices - a new workplace relations system (Prime Minister's Media Release)
ACTU - Your Rights at Aowk

Church body open to national industrial relations system (CathNews 12/9/05)
Church body slams IR policy proposals (CathNews 9/9/05)
Bishop urges Govt to tread softly on IR (CathNews 2/9/05)
Minister says full employment is Catholic "first principle" (CathNews 19/8/05)
Remote area voice sees PM 'off target' on IR (CathNews 12/8/05)
Commission answers PM's denial of existence of Catholic position (CathNews 10/8/05)
PM dismisses voice of Church (CathNews 8/8/05)
Melbourne Archbishop coordinating IR response (CathNews 3/8/05)
Minister tells churches to stay out of IR fight (CathNews 11/7/05)
Pell voices wages concerns (CathNews 4/7/05)
Canberra bishop speaks out on job insecurity fears (CathNews 1/7/04)
Church leaders worried about Howard IR changes (CathNews 29/6/05)
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)

Gerard Henderson: If the push is for jobs, the evidence is clear (Sydney Morning Herald 11/10/05)
IR changes will help economy, says Andrews (ABC TV Lateline 10/10/05)
Church leaders warn of damage to relationships and family life (Sydney Morning Herald 11/10/05)
Families a priority - Cardinal Pell (Sunday Telegraph 9/10/05)

11 Oct 2005