27/05/2010 - 00:00

Fair Work rejects PR award bid

27/05/2010 - 00:00


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Fair Work rejects PR award bid

THE federal government’s industrial relations umpire, Fair Work Australia, has rejected a Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance application to form an independent modern award for the public relations sector.

In a decision handed down last week, FWA dismissed the application as unnecessary, saying PR consultancies have had a federal public relations industry award since 1990 and that the sector was too small for the requested change.

The MEAA relied on material on the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website, which suggests that about 17,000 PR professionals are employed across a range of industries.

It submitted that there could be at least 3,000 employers in the industry providing public relations services, including the 300-plus businesses on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet lobbyists register.

But FWA said the application, which was backed by the Australia Services Union and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, but opposed by the Australian Industry Group, the PR Institute of Australia (PRIA) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, failed to make its case.

“There was little information put on the nature of the industry or on the impact of any modern award on productivity and employment costs in the industry,” FWA said.

National chair of PRIA Registered Consultancies Group, Annabelle Warren, welcomed FWA’s decision, adding it was a “victory for flexible, professional workplaces that provide 24/7 service”.

The application came after the Rudd government in late 2009 converted almost 1,600 awards to just 122 as part of a landmark shake-up of the workplace relations landscape.

An FWA spokesperson would not speculate on whether MEAA’s application was part of a growing trend of organisations requesting modern awards to cover other particular sectors.



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