New industrial law proposed in SA

July 2, 1997

New industrial law proposed in SA

By Melanie Sjoberg

ADELAIDE — Some 40 people gathered at the state office of the Department of Industrial Affairs on June 25 to protest against changes to industrial relations legislation.

The state Liberal government plans to bring its laws into line with the federal Workplace Relations Act through the Industrial and Employees Relations (Harmonisation) Amendment Bill 1997.

The new law would enable individual contracts (Australian Workplace Agreements) to be introduced at the state level. It would also restrict access to legal protection following an unfair dismissal by excluding casuals, workers who were employed for a specific period or task or were on probation, or who could access any other appeal mechanism, such as the public sector appeal provision or the Equal Opportunity Commission.

The director of the Working Women's Centre, Leana Sudarno, said that 40% of the centre's clients have casual, part-time or non-unionised jobs, and would be left out in the cold if the bill was passed.

"Many of these women are sacked on the spot with only oral notice", she told the protesters.

Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union president Ann Drohan pointed out that many young people and people from non-English speaking backgrounds employed in the service sector would be further disadvantaged.

ALP deputy leader Ralph Clarke said that the ALP will be "opposing the harmonisation bill, not seeking to amend it".

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