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WA public sector faces WorkChoices Mark II

Western Australia’s public sector workers face tough times ahead, Australian Greens Senator for WA, Rachel Siewert has warned.

“WA public sector workers will be left out of reforms to national industrial relations laws because the Rudd Government has not been able to resolve the jurisdictional mess that has arisen from basing IR laws on the corporations power,” Senator Siewert said.

“Prior to Work Choices, our industrial relations laws were based on the conciliation and arbitration power, which provided more flexibility in accessing fair laws at a national level.

“WA Commerce Minister Troy Buswell has made it clear that he won’t refer WA’s IR powers to Canberra, which means that a large number of WA’s public sector workers will be left at his mercy.

“Mr Buswell has also revealed his preference to retain the worst elements of WorkChoices, including individual agreements that will be a precondition of work.

“As a modified form of Work Choices, the Fair Work Bill relies on the Corporations Act, meaning state public sector workers are not covered if the State Government chooses not to refer its powers.

“I urge Mr Buswell to consider the folly of pushing ahead with individual agreements within the WA public sector.

“It may suit his current cost-cutting drive for the public service – a plan in which the cracks are already beginning to appear – but it will hurt many WA households already facing tough economic times.”

For more information or media enquiries, call Eloise Dortch on 0415 507 763

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