Labour Relations Minister Cheryl Edwardes today reaffirmed the Coalition Government’s commitment to a flexible labour relations system determined by workers and employers in their own workplace.
The commitment comes as the Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) released its election submission this morning,calling for the retention of a workplace agreements system by the next State Government.
“This State has gone ahead in leaps and bounds recording impressive levels of employment, productivity and real wages growth,” Mrs Edwardes said.
“We have the runs on the board and we cannot afford to go back to the inflexible labour relations system of the past.
“The CME has cited the labour relations reforms of this Government as being one of the key reasons for its improved competitiveness and performance in recent years and it has indicated the need to retain the existing flexibility of Western Australia’s labour relations system.
“This highlights the dangers associated with the ALP’s policy, which discriminates against agreement making between employers and employees in favour of union agreements.
“A vote for Labor at the State election would risk the significant economic gains employers and employees have made under the Coalition’s workplace agreements.”
Mrs Edwardes said the ALP would put at risk sustained real wages growth, the 203,500 jobs the Coalition has helped create for Western Australians, would threaten the continuing downward trend in unemployment, put a forecast rise in business profits in doubt and undermine the State’s 17 per cent jump in export growth in 1999-2000.
The Minister said the Coalition Government’s labour relations policy would meet the CME’s challenge to maintain the viability of the mining and energy industry.
The ALP would scrap workplace agreements and drag the State back to the 1980s, handing control back to the unions.
“Western Australians do not want to risk returning to the days of industrial warfare,” Mrs Edwardes said.
“We have moved on from those days to become an internationally competitive economy, reliant on flexible workplace relations that allow employers and employees to take charge of their own workplace.”
Media contact: Steve Manchee on 9421 7777