Cheryl Edwardes

Cheryl Edwardes


    Secret union deal exposes ALP industrial relations policy sham: Minister

    18/01/2001 6:17 PM

    Labour Relations Minister Cheryl Edwardes said revelations of secret deals between the ALP and unions to scrap workplace agreements showed the ALP industrial relations policy was a sham.

    “This is all about scrapping workplace agreements under a phoney inquiry after the ALP cooked up a deal with the unions to keep them quiet during the election campaign,” Mrs Edwardes said.

    “People shouldn’t be fooled by the ALP’s so-called Employer-Employee Agreements. They are simply an attempt to placate business and workers fearful of losing the economic, social and competitive gains they have under workplace agreements.

    “Under the ALP, workers will not be allowed to have an individual agreement with an employer if there is a union agreement in place. All workers must accept the union agreement regardless of whether they want it or not. Where is the fairness in that?

    “Now we know the ALP plans to give unions access to every workplace to decide how it will operate, despite what employers and employees may want.

    “What the unions are doing here is regaining unfettered access to everyone’s workplace through backroom ALP deals and promises to re-write legislation.”

    Mrs Edwardes also attacked the ALP’s John Kobelke for deliberately skewing the facts about the minimum wage.

    “The adult minimum wage has no correlation to award rates, but is calculated after considering the effect of any increase on employment, unemployment and inflation, the capacity of employers to pay without employment loss, and the incomes, needs and expenditure of employees are also considered,” she said.

    “The minimum wage is a safety net for the lowest paid workers and is not based on their occupation or skill level, unlike awards. The overwhelming majority of Western Australian employees earn well above the minimum wage.

    “Thousands of workers were left outside the award system under Labor until this Government introduced a Minimum Wage to protect their income.

    “The minimum wage will be increased on March 1 by $16.50 to $384.50.

    “Mr Kobelke claims the minimum wage is $50.80 below the award. If there is any comparison to be made, it is only $15.90 from March 1.

    “He says I shouldn’t be giving these low-paid workers a pay rise until August but I am convinced the increase is justified from March 1.”

    Media contact: Steve Manchee on 9421 7777