Premier Richard Court said today that the Coalition’s firm commitment to retaining workplace agreements would be a key issue that differentiates Labor and the Coalition in this election.
“The fact that workplace agreements have been so successful in Western Australia is precisely why the Labor Party has tried to hide its Labour Relations policy, a policy which would put at risk all the gains Western Australia has made under the Coalition’s reforms to workplace relations,” Mr Court said.
“The Coalition’s policy continues to be progressive and builds upon the successes of a WA labour relations system that is flexible, productive, well-paying, widely accepted and sought-after by many employers and employees.
“In the last seven years, more than 275,000 Western Australians have signed workplace agreements.
“My message to the Labor Party is that to remove the flexibility and conditions they enjoy as part of their workplace agreements would be scandalous.”
Labour Relations Minister Cheryl Edwardes said Western Australians had moved away from the days of high industrial disputes and union domination to become an internationally respected economy with competitive wages, the lowest unemployment levels in Australia and record levels of productivity.
“Western Australians can’t risk all of these gains by allowing the Labor Party to scrap workplace agreements,” she said.
“A vote for Labor is a vote to abolish workplace agreements and force employers and employees to accept union agreements despite their wishes. It would spell disaster for the Western Australian economy.”
Mrs Edwardes said the unceremonious unveiling of the secret backroom deal between the unions and the Labor Party on workplace agreements made it clear a Labor Government would reinstate carte blanche union control over workplaces.
Voters would not be fooled by the ALP’s so-called Employer-Employee Agreements (EEA).
“They are designed to be unworkable and are a sham. In fact, workers and employers will not be able to access anything but a union agreement whether they want to or not,” the Minister said.
“Under the Labor Party, workers will not be allowed to have an individual agreement with an employer if there is a union agreement in place.
“All employees will have to accept the union agreement regardless of whether they want it or not. Where is the fairness in that?
“This Coalition Government has delivered growth in average weekly earnings by an average of 6.5 per cent each year - the highest employment participation rate of any State - and brought unemployment down to 5.9 per cent from Labor’s peak of 11.4 per cent.
“Further, since coming into government in 1993, more than 203,000 jobs have been created.
“Western Australians cannot risk the State’s national economic leadership and return to mass industrial disputes by handing workplace control back to the Labor Party and its union mates.
“The Coalition’s Workplace Relations Policy will continue to create more jobs and more choices for all Western Australians, and help provide more productive, more competitive, more rewarding, safer and fairer workplaces.”
Justine Whittome, Premier’s office, 9222 9475
Steve Manchee, Minister Edwardes’ office, 9421 7777