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Monthly Archives: June 2009

| June 19, 2009
Article from: The Australian

DEAKIN University has locked in a 16 per cent pay rise over four years to April 2012 in an agreement with the academic union that is likely to set the standard for further university wage deals in Victoria.

Deakin has also agreed to review the operation of its newly adopted trimester academic year while the National Tertiary Education Union has agreed to drop its legal action against the new arrangements.

The deal also includes improved conditions for casual staff.

The 16 per cent pay rise includes a 2 per cent increase granted in April, but Deakin has also agreed an additional sign-on bonus of $1,000 for full time staff, with a pro rata payment for part timers and casuals.

The increase compares with last month’s wages deal at the University of Sydney where pay will rise by 17 per cent over the period from March 2009 to January 2012.

“It sets a standard against which other agreements will be measured and we’d be looking to secure other agreements as soon as possible,” the NTEU’s Victorian secretary Matthew McGowan said.

Deakin vice chancellor Sally Walker said the agreement “provides a good platform for Deakin going forward and it rewards the hard work of staff.”

Professor Walker said the university wasn’t stepping back from the new trimester format, the operation of which she said was due to be reviewed in 2010. But in the wake of union concerns over workload and compressed teaching times the timetable for the review has been brought forward and consultation with staff and students will commence this year.

Under the agreement research active staff won’t be required to teach in more than two out of the three trimesters, while research inactive staff will be allowed to apply to have sufficient time off teaching to become research active.

“I don’t want teaching only staff, I want people to concentrate on what they are good at but that may change from one period to another,” Professor Walker said.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25657644-12332,00.html

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Ben Schneiders
June 22, 2009

A SENIOR union leader has promised a tough line on violence and intimidation, saying it will not be condoned, amid claims of death threats and violence at the recent West Gate industrial dispute.

The dispute was used earlier this month by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard to justify Labor keeping laws that treat the building industry and building workers differently. They include tough coercive powers that can require building workers, under threat of jail, to answer questions.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Dave Oliver said if allegations were proved against any organiser at his union they would be dealt with.

“Very clearly we have a policy in place, we do not condone violence, intimidation and bullying and if anything is substantiated about any allegation about our organisers we will deal with it,” he told The Age.

A union organiser was alleged to have made death threats against a security guard and his family, although these claims have been denied. Civil and criminal and court court cases are under way as a result of the dispute and Mr Oliver said he would watch what came out of them.

“If anything comes out we will deal with it appropriately, we don’t condone that (violence) whatsoever,” he said.

Ms Gillard has been criticised for using the dispute despite none of the allegations being proved by a court. Labor’s stance has enraged many unionists.

Electrical Trades Union state secretary Dean Mighell said construction union organisers would be “laughed at” if they told members they should vote Labor at the next federal election.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/union-boss-promises-tough-line-on-violence-20090621-csm5.html

Peter Martin
June 18, 2009

A FOREIGN or indigenous-sounding name gives people less chance of landing a job in Australia, a study has found. Unless your name sounds Italian and you’re in Melbourne, in which case it can be an advantage.

Australian National University researchers Alison Booth, Andrew Leigh and Elena Vargonova sent out 4000 fake job applications to employers advertising on the internet for entry-level hospitality, data entry, customer service and sales jobs, changing only the racial origin of the supposed applicants’ names.

Applicants with Chinese names fared the worst, having only a one-in-five chance of getting asked in for interviews, compared to applicants with Anglo-Saxon names whose chances exceeded one-in-three.

Typically a Chinese-named applicant would need to put in 68 per cent more applications than an Anglo-named applicant to get the same number of calls back. A Middle Eastern-named applicant needed 64 per cent more, an indigenous-named applicant 35 per cent more and an Italian-named applicant 12 per cent more.

But the results varied by city. Sydney employers were generally more discriminatory than those in Melbourne or Brisbane, except when it came to indigenous names, where they were more accepting.

But only in Melbourne was there a type of non-Anglo name that was actually loved. Melbourne employers were 7 per cent more likely to respond well to someone with an Italian name than they were to an Anglo name.

Asked to guess why, Dr Leigh hastened to point out that the 7 per cent bias in favour of Italian-sounding names was not statistically significant.

“But what it does allow you to say is that there is no statistically discernible discrimination against Italian names in Melbourne. They are as well-regarded as Anglo names.

“This could be because Melbourne has a higher share of Italians than other Australian cities, and has had for a long time. Discrimination tends to be higher when you have a recent influx of arrivals, as Sydney has from China and the Middle East.

“Or it could be because many of the jobs we pretended to apply for were waiter and waitressing positions in bistros, bars, cafes and restaurants.”

Asked whether the study had found that Australian employers were racist, Dr Leigh said it was clear they discriminated on the basis of the racial origin of applicants’ names. “There is no other reasonable interpretation of our results,” he said.

The fake applications had made clear that the supposed job-seekers had completed secondary schooling in Australia, making it unlikely that the employers had assumed the non-Anglo applicants could not speak English.

A similar study carried out in the US found that applicants with African-American-sounding names needed to submit 50 per cent more applications than white applicants to get the same number of interviews, suggesting that Australian employers were more prejudiced, except when it came to Italians and Australians with indigenous names.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/australian-bosses-are-racist-when-its-time-to-hire-20090617-chvu.html

18 June 2009 6:37am

With less than a fortnight to go before the national workplace relations changes begin to take effect, all recruiters must ensure they’re aware of their responsibilities and obligations. Here, Deacons partner Stuart Kollmorgen highlights the key issues.

Unfair dismissals
Under the Fair Work Act, parts of which take effect on 1 July, a larger number of employees – including on-hired workers – will be eligible to bring unfair dismissal claims against their employer.

Currently, only “large employers” (employing 100 workers or more) face these claims, but the threshold is being reduced to 15 employees. The minimum employment period before bringing a claim is six months for large employers (15+ workers) and 12 months for small ones.

When making employees redundant under the new laws, an area Kollmorgen says is “obviously critical at the moment”, there are a couple of extra tests that employers will need to satisfy in order for a dismissal to be fair.

The employer has to consider redeployment options within the company and associated entities, he says, which could include host companies.

An employer also has to comply with all consultation obligations under awards or collective agreements with employees affected by redundancies. “If they haven’t done those two things [the dismissal] could be unfair.”

Recruiters should also be aware that there will be a new decision maker – Fair Work Australia – determining these claims, Kollmorgen says.

“It’s going to be less formal, but we don’t really know yet what differences there will be in the way Fair Work Australia conducts mediation and final hearing phases.”

View the federal government’s fact sheet on unfair dismissals for small employers here.

Right of entry
There are some minor changes to unions’ right of entry to workplaces which will affect recruitment and labour hire companies, Kollmorgen says.

“It used to be the case that if you had a collective agreement applying to a workplace which had a union party to it, then that made it clear which union could enter to meet with potential new members and investigate breaches.

“That’s changed. Now if you’re a union whose eligibility rules cover an employee, you can enter the workplace to meet with employees whether or not you’re bound by a collective agreement there. So another union could come in and meet with your employees.”

Why it’s important: The changes give unions increased ability to organise within the on-hire industry, Kollmorgen says, with implications for bargaining (see below).

Check out the right of entry fact sheet here.

Good faith bargaining
The good faith bargaining elements of the new laws pose significant issues for the recruitment industry, Kollmorgen says.

“An employer can no longer say, ‘I’m not interested in bargaining’. If it’s approached by a bargaining representative for an employee – in reality a union – and the union is able to show there is majority support within that group of employees for a collective agreement, then the employer… has to bargain in good faith.

“What that seems to mean is that there is a presumption that an agreement will be reached and that the employer has to approach negotiations in good faith, provide information, and meet at reasonable times, etc.”

Why it’s important: A labour hire company might be quite large with employees “all over the place in different pockets”, Kollmorgen points out. The test for “majority support” could be met if most workers at a worksite, or across a couple of regions, or right across a whole workforce indicate they want a collective agreement.

“If there is majority support within a group, whatever it is, those employees could force the employer to the table to negotiate.”

Labour hire providers are most likely to be affected when their employees are working alongside directly employed workers who are covered by an agreement with attractive conditions, he says.

They can protect themselves against bargaining requests by “making sure that their employees are happy with the terms and conditions that they’re on and the sort of flexibility that labour hire employment gives them.

“If that’s the case, there doesn’t appear to me to be a reason why they’d want to change their terms and conditions just because a union comes along and says ‘join up and we’ll represent you’,” Kollmorgen says.

View the good faith bargaining fact sheet here.

Modern awards
Currently, the recruitment industry is providing workers to lots of industries with minimal award coverage, but under the new system, modern awards will apply as a common rule to all employees in a particular industry or occupation.

Therefore, Kollmorgen says, “I believe there’ll be very few non-managerial employees who will not be covered.”

The terms and conditions of modern awards are quite similar to the awards that commonly apply under state systems (or in Victoria under the federal system), “so in many cases there won’t be a great deal of surprise in terms and conditions, but the fact there is award coverage is the impact there”.

Modern awards come into force from 1 January, and some have already been developed (including those for clerical, retail, cleaning, graphic artists, IT, restaurants and construction).

What to do: Labour hire providers should check the relevant modern awards for the industry they provide staff to and ensure they understand the new terms and conditions that they’re going to have to meet, Kollmorgen says, and identify any potential problems.

If labour suppliers want more flexibility than is provided in the awards, they have the option of making an enterprise agreement, which will over-ride the award but must pass a “better off overall” test (the BOOT).

An agreement might, for instance, change an entitlement such as a penalty rate or an overtime rate, in exchange for a higher base rate of pay.

Read about the BOOT here.

Transfer of business
The transfer of business provisions in the new Act, which come into effect in July, make it more likely that labour hire employers that transition on-hire employees will be bound by the agreements of the temps’ previous employer, Kollmorgen says.

The test for whether a business has transferred will, under the FWA, be satisfied in a greater number of cases where employees move from one employer to another, he says.

It will apply to host employers in temp-to-perm cases as well as labour hire employers that transition on-hire workers after a supply contract changes hands.

If the employees becoming permanent or being transitioned are covered by a collective agreement, “that agreement will go across with them and bind the employer for an indefinite period of time – not just the 12 months under Work Choices but indefinitely”.

The test for whether an agreement goes across with the employees is firstly whether the work being conducted by the employees is “substantially the same”.

“It used to be the case that it needed to be the character of the business that was substantially the same, and on-hire was different to, say, construction or manufacturing, whereas now it’s the work. So if an employee is doing construction or manufacturing work for the on-hire employer and then the same work for the direct employer, that test would be satisfied.”

The second part of the test is whether there has been a transfer of some assets, “which could easily be satisfied in a typical transfer of business”, Kollmorgen says.

This could create problems for the on-hire industry because “you can have two groups of employees working alongside each other, doing the same work, but being paid differently”.

What to do about it: A labour hire employer’s solution to the problem is to do a new collective agreement covering “everyone”, Kollmorgen says.

“They could effectively be forced into that, so if you’re going to take on employees, and transfer them across to you, then you need to be aware that you may in the future need to do a collective agreement in order to regularise all the terms and conditions.”

Employers are “grappling” with that now, he says, “because a 12-month transition period [under the Work Choices regime] was manageable, but if you’ve got to have two payroll systems indefinitely, and maybe not just two, that is a major problem in an organisation”.

Read more about agreements here.(http://www.deewr.gov.au/WorkplaceRelations/NewWorkplaceRelations/Documents/WR%20fact%20sheet%20RA%208.pdf)

http://www.recruiterdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=39796&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

By Michael Gowers

June 16, 2009 07:30am
MEET a young Gen-Xer with three university degrees who represents the new unemployed – over-qualified professionals.

LONG hours, sleepless nights, no appreciation or recognition and lousy pay. How many of you can relate to this?

I know I can – well, except for the lousy pay. I have all of the above except for the pay packet.

That is my reality in 2009 now that I am a fulltime unemployed professional jobseeker. And I have $3 to last me until the end of this week.

I reckon I am a pretty good candidate for work. Excluding the odd moments of capricious youth, I managed to knuckle down and get some good grades in school. I went to university.

Along with many of my friends, I never paid much mind to the idea that one day I might be unemployed. For my generation, who are used to a permanently strong economy, it was just never going to happen.

And, at first, it didn’t. After a good five years in the workforce, having progressed nicely through the ranks of management, I decided to do postgraduate studies at one of the more notable business schools in NSW – even obtaining a highly-valued (so I thought) MBA (Master of Business Administration).

It was the sort of high-flying qualification you’d expect would inoculate you against the dole queue.

But within the space of a year, I discovered that unemployment does not discriminate. My marketing job had ceased to exist.

So here I find myself with three wonderfully framed degrees that take pride of place on my wall, telling me all that I have achieved. I truly am lucky that I am able to look at them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And then there is the feeling of bewilderment when I look at the receipts for the eighty or so thousand dollars I have spent for all of my education when it is juxtaposed next to the fortnightly statement for my dole allowance.

Don’t get me wrong. Australia has a fantastic system that provides benefits and assistance to those in need. It is not, however, designed to cope with highly qualified individuals who have found themselves out of work.

For myself and the rest of the Generation Xers who grew up in a time where work was plentiful, this experience is one that crushes one’s sense of self-worth and leads to an every day battle to maintain hope and keep up the momentum of searching for work.

Add to this the fortnightly trip down to the local Centrelink offices, a place certainly not known for its jovial atmosphere, and you begin to understand how the 2009 job seeker feels.

Regardless of our background, how much we studied, how privileged we may have been, we are all the same at the Centrelink. We are just people looking for work. In the wonderfully sterile space at Centrelink, where walls are adorned only by the odd piece of butcher’s paper giving worldly advice such as “smile when you are on the phone” and “be polite”, you can find the ultimate job seeking tool – the computer.

In the facility that I attend, you can have up to 30 enthusiastic and hopeful jobseekers all vying for the half-dozen computers lined up against the wall. For those of us who haven’t quite yet had their soul destroyed by being unemployed for three months, a couple of weeks of scrambling for a computer like a shark in a feeding frenzy will take care of that for you.

Everyday I continue with my full-time job of looking for a job, a process that just keeps reminding me of our economic conditions. I am unable to get some jobs because I am now over-qualified and employers feel that I’d simply be taking a job just to have one and would leave as soon as the market picks up.

For other jobs, I am under-qualified. And the competition for all jobs is ferocious. Where some jobs previously had 50 to 100 applicants, they are now receiving up to 300 applicants. Preference tends to go towards those already employed.

The old adage that “it is easier to get a job when you have a job” has never rung more true to me.

To be the pessimist that I am now becoming, it doesn’t seem that things are going to get any better in the near future. Today I heard that the prediction for Australia is that we will have almost a million people in my position by 2010.

So, at least for the meantime, it appears that I will continue to enjoy sleepless nights, long hours with only a rejection letter to show for it and my battle to try again. I hope in the near future I will be able to take a rest and relax and go to work.

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25643278-662,00.html

Posted Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:01pm AEST

Map: Hobart 7000
A move by the Tasmanian government to adopt a range of measures that improve working conditions for cleaners has been welcomed by the union.

The Clean Start principles include a four to eight per cent pay rise over four years, longer minimum shifts and greater job security when cleaning contracts change hands.

The Government will insist all contractors hired to clean government buildings employ the principles from the first of July.

The Workplace Relations Minister Lisa Singh says cleaners often work odd hours for low pay and deserve greater protection.

“This is about wage justice for some of the lowest paid workers,” she said.

“They are our cleaners and we need to show them the respect and the dignity they deserve by remunerating them and giving them the conditions they deserve.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/06/15/2598965.htm

Ewin Hannan | June 17, 2009
Article from: The Australian

THE Rudd government plan to switch off coercive powers in selected parts of the construction industry was giving unions a “get out of jail free card”, especially in Victoria, which had become the “heart of darkness” for industrial standover tactics and intimidation.

Builders yesterday criticised Labor’s proposed changes to the construction industry watchdog, warning proposed safeguards surrounding the use of coercive powers would hinder the ability to combat unlawful behaviour.

Peter May, a Melbourne commercial building contractor, said he was surprised by Labor’s plan to switch off coercive powers in parts of the industry deemed peaceful. “If that part of the industry is peaceful then there should be no need for the coercive powers to be used,” he said.

“Switching them off just encourages the unions to move to that part of the industry or that particular site where life isn’t as difficult for them.”

Mr May said the safeguards proposed for the use of coercive powers by the new building industry inspectorate could prove to be counter-productive.

“It does make it very bureaucratic, it does make it very cumbersome and it does make it harder for the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commissioner) to use their powers effectively,” he said. “It’s OK having the tough cop on the beat, but you don’t want to hamstring them with excessive bureaucracy.”

He said the existence of the ABCC and the imposition of the coercive powers had led to the building industry “undergoing a lot of change for the good”. “A lot of the unlawfulness on building sites is very hard to prove and that’s why the coercive powers are needed,” he said.

Brian Welch, executive director of the Master Builders Association of Victoria, said the switch-off proposal was like giving unions a “get out of jail free card”. “We can see that Victoria is the heart of darkness when it comes to industrial standover tactics and intimidation,” he said. “I have grave reservations over these constraints.

“You are dealing with witnesses that are intimidated and clearly you need to have powers of coercion to get to the truth.”

ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence welcomed the end of higher penalties for building workers, but wanted construction industry employees to have the same rights as all other Australian workers.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25648363-5013404,00.html

By Caitlin O’Toole
NEWS.com.au
June 16, 2009 09:12am

A YEAR ago, accounting and mining engineering students would be fielding two or three job offers halfway through their final year.

Now, they can’t afford to be choosy, and count themselves lucky to get a single offer.

Graduate Careers Australia research manager Bruce Guthrie said the economic uncertainty takes the shine off industries hit hard by the downturn, like formerly ‘hot jobs’ in mining and finance.

“A lot of employers have just been holding back a little bit, waiting to get some firm idea about what the rest of the year will bring,” said Mr Guthrie.

“Some employers decided maybe to be a little more prudent and either decided to delay hiring, or pay people and say ‘sorry we’ll withdraw the offer’.”

WHAT has your experience been of the graduate job market? Tell us below.

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NEWS.com.au, 16 Mar 2009 Even accountants, which formerly moaned about a skills shortage, are cutting back. ‘Big four’ firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers offered graduates $4000 to delay their start date, and Ernst & Young postponed graduate start dates.

Almost 70 per cent of graduates expect it will be hard to get a position because of the economy, according to a CareerOne survey. And almost half of grads aren’t working in the field they studied.

As architecture and building, accounting, engineering and business graduate programs mirror the economy, the less glamorous careers will hold up, predicts Mr Guthrie.

“Commonly those are areas in the teaching, health sciences areas, where demand for employees isn’t governed by the economy,” he said.

Headlines about layoffs and fewer graduate spots in the private sector mean graduates are turning to public service, where competition for graduate spots has jumped.

Applications for the Australian Tax Office’s graduate program, with its $49,000 starting salary and 15.4 per cent super, jumped from 1701 to 5312 applicants this year, most with tax, accounting, law or economics degrees.

Employers attending careers fairs have fallen 15 per cent, said Dawn White, president of The National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (NAGCAS).

But having to fight hard to get a job could have a silver lining, as fewer grads fall into the formerly ‘safe’ career options of law, finance or accounting and think seriously about what they really want to do with their lives, she said.

Although investment banks are still recruiting on campuses, fewer students are showing up for their information sessions, said Ms White.

Students are now less likely to enter banking just to keep their parents happy, even though there are still jobs and even signing bonuses on offer.

“You read in the paper of a company cutting jobs, and then they ring up the next day and want to recruit grads,” said Ms White.

‘Hot jobs’ like IT or banking are just trends, and students are better off thinking carefully about what they really want to do, she said.

Recessions push people to make a more conscious career choice and think about what they are good at and what they really enjoy, because the ‘safe’ career track is gone, said Ms White.

“It might have made people realise there aren’t any specific safe industries, so it’s more important to do something you enjoy and gain transferable skills.”

“It’s forcing students to have a look at their priorities and their reasons for getting into things,” said Ms White.
http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,27753,25643410-5012426,00.html

Font Size: Decrease Increase Print Page: Print Ewin Hannan and Patricia Karvelas | June 16, 2009
Article from: The Australian

FORMER ACTU president and now federal Labor MP Jennie George has declared building unionists have fewer rights than “most hardened criminals”, underlining ALP caucus unrest over plans to keep coercive powers for the construction industry.

Tasmanian Labor MP Dick Adams also hit out at the retention of the powers and Victorian senator Jacinta Collins said she was yet to be convinced the government would introduce adequate safeguards to deal with her concerns.

Several other Labor MPs raised concerns about the proposed laws at a special briefing of the employment caucus group last night, with some vowing to push their opposition in a broader caucus meeting today.

Despite the unrest, Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard is expected to succeed in getting a bill retaining the powers through caucus. One prominent left-winger, who would not be named, said the government had “stitched up” the issue and it would be difficult to seriously oppose it. “They’ve locked everyone in,” the MP said. “None of the left-wing ministers or parliamentary secretaries can say anything now.”

The bill’s final passage faces delay, as the Greens will refer it to a Senate committee when it comes before the upper house next week. A day after former union leader and now senator Doug Cameron attacked the coercive powers, Ms George differed from fellow former ACTU presidents, Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson, who have both backed their retention.

“Like many people, of course, I have concerns about the use of coercive powers against trade unionists, powers that don’t even apply in the case of most hardened criminals, who under our laws still have the right to silence,” Ms George told The Australian.

She said she would have a more detailed position once she had examined the legislation, including proposed safeguards.

“As a matter of principle, I think the use of coercive powers in the manner that has been used hitherto, where people are hauled before people and asked to dob in their mates and if they don’t there is the threat of penalty, it just seems to me that is not something that I would condone.”

Ms Gillard will highlight an array of safeguards that were recommended by former judge Murray Wilcox.

It is expected any notice to compulsorily interrogate a person would be issued only by a presidential member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, who would have to be satisfied that the worker had information or documents relevant to an investigation; that the information was important to the investigation’s progress; and if there was no other way of obtaining the information.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman would monitor the compulsory interrogations and report to parliament annually. The legislation governing the interrogation powers would be subject to a five-year sunset clause.

Mr Adams said it was wrong to have two sets of laws and they would be resisted.

“I believe that everybody should be treated equally,” he said.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25642552-2702,00.html

11 June 2009 8:45am

From 1 July union officials will have the power to enter premises on suspicion of a workplace breach regardless of whether or not the employees are union members or covered by a union-binding agreement, says Freehills partner Anthony Longland.

This is the “most significant” change to right-of-entry rules – under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA) – coming into effect next month, Longland told HR Daily.

But even then, he notes, unions will only be entitled to enter premises where the work is “relevant”, or where there are potential members.

And, as with the soon-to-be-repealed legislation, officials will need to clearly articulate the nature of the suspected breach before they are granted entry.

Indeed, most of the new right-of-entry rules either mirror or expand on the provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996, Longland says.

For instance, section 483AA of the FWA – which allows union officials, or permit-holders, to inspect records relating to non-union members – has received “an inordinate amount of press”, but was tempered after Family First Senator Steve Fielding “took exception”, and now closely resembles section 748(9) of the old Act.

From July, permit holders will only be allowed to access such information with the consent of the relevant workers, or by an order of the regulatory body (which will be Fair Work Australia), as is currently the case.

Whether the new provision is interpreted or applied differently from July will depend on the “view” of Fair Work Australia, Longland says.

“But my sense is it will be a non-issue.”

Reasonable and unreasonable requests
Requirements or controls that employers can impose on permit-holders entering premises will also change little in July, Longland says.

However, the new legislation (see section 492) clarifies what constitutes an “unreasonable” employer request.

Under the FWA, the permit holder will still be required to comply with a “reasonable” request by the employer to hold discussions in a specific area or room, and take a particular route to that area.

But the request will be considered unreasonable if the area isn’t “fit for the purpose of conducting the interviews”, or is inaccessible, or if the request is made with the intention of intimidating or discouraging the persons involved in the talks.

As with the current legislation, the regulatory body will have the authority to deal with a dispute over the reasonableness of a request.

Misuse of entry rights
Rules relating to the “misuse” of entry rights will also be much the same, Longland says.

According to section 508, Fair Work Australia will be able to revoke or suspend entry permits if it believes that an official is exercising his or her right to enter with the intention of hindering, obstructing or otherwise harassing an occupier or employer.

Harassment, Longland says, could include putting pressure on employees to partake in talks.

Employers can make complaints to Fair Work Australia or an inspector, Longland says, and should be satisfied, he notes, with the protection the legislation offers them.

Vulnerable singled out
A number of right-of-entry provisions were added to the legislation to strengthen protections for outworkers, Longland says.

He says that textiles, clothing and footwear industries employ large numbers of non-English-speaking workers, who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

“There was a need to single them out and provide greater protection,” he says.

Among a range of special provisions under the FWA, union officials will be able to enter outworker premises to investigate suspected contraventions without giving advance notice.

For all the new right-of-entry provisions, see sections 478 to 521 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

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