COSBOA today congratulated the government and the Industrial Relations Minister Senator Michaelia Cash on the new appointments to the Fair Work Commission. We applaud the appointment of Sarah McKinnon and Peter Anderson in particular.
Peter Strong, CEO COSBOA, said today “In the past, indeed for decades, the industrial relations arena has been dominated by those from a small but coquettish club of workplace relations practitioners. Now for the first time, after repeated calls from COSBOA, there are people appointed as Fair Work Commissioners who are different from the rest. They are similar in many ways, they are clever, honest, professional and deeply knowledgeable of IR law but – they understand the difference between big business workplaces and small workplaces. Exactly what our workplace system needs.”
COSBOA has been fighting for fairness in industrial law for over 30 years and feel that for the first time we are making headway. For too long industrial policy has been dominated by ideologues from the left, or the laissez-faire economists from the right and or by big business interests. Small business advocates have been ignored or completely side lined. The system has been easy for those with pay teams and money but very difficult for small business people and also for their employees.
Peter Strong added “The current President of the FWC, Justice Iain Ross has been intent on reform but has lacked the support from other commissioners needed to get fairness in the 96% of workplaces in Australia that are less than 20 employees. These new appointments provides him with commissioners who can make decisions based on law, on logic and on the practicability of the small workplace. This will benefit employees as well as employers. In the end having law is essential but we also need that law to be able to be communicated in a coherent manner and have simple useable systems with which to administer that law. Currently the processes and the language used are far too archaic or complicated.”
“Indeed we at COSBOA have been so disappointed in the approach to workplace legislation and the behaviour of a small minority of employers that we are holding a special round table of members on 3 April in Melbourne where we will call for all employers to follow the rules and not underpay employees or get involved in tax dodging cash payments. There is no excuse for under award payments. We will release more information soon on what we will confront. Alan Fels will also address the meeting and provide information on recent activities around the 7-11 franchise.
We in small business can’t wait for the system to get better. Our members have demanded we show leadership and confront those who rort the system, who underpay employees and who as a result scam the competition. We believe in the power of law. These new appointments give us hope that the law will prevail in a practice as well as words.”