01/02/2006 - 09:53

Feds allowed involvement in WAIRC wage case hearing

01/02/2006 - 09:53

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The WA Industrial Relations Commission has granted leave for the Federal Government to intervene in a application for a 4 per cent state-wide wage increase brought by the Trades and Labour Council.

The WA Industrial Relations Commission has granted leave for the Federal Government to intervene in a application for a 4 per cent state-wide wage increase brought by the Trades and Labour Council.

The application is unprecedented and both the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA and the Australian Mines and Metals Association have submitted that there is no jurisdiction or power for the WAIRC to deal with it.

The Commonwealth was yesterday granted leave to intervene on the basis of its broader interest in the national economy and the WAIRC's obligation to consider the state of the national economy

The Commonwealth requested the proceedings be adjourned to await an expected determination in spring of the Australian Fair Pay Commission and then the Australian Industrial Relations Commission's determination.

 

Below is a full summary of yesterday's proceedings:

APPLICATION FOR A 4% GENERAL WAGE INCREASE in WA
Application 957 of 2005

The following is a progress report on the application made to the WA Industrial Relations Commission by the TLC to vary wage rates in awards in WA by a General Order.

Appearance and representation

Trades and Labour Council (TLC), (UnionsWA) (Clare Ozich)
The (WA) Minister for Employment and Consumer Protection, (Cliff Pettit and Paul Wilding)
Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) (Geoff Blyth)
Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) (Claire Brown)
Commonwealth Minister for Workplace Relations (Tony Power instructed by Blake Dawson Waldron).

Hearing Monday 30 January 2006.

Commonwealth Minister's Intervention
The 5 member Commission in Court Session convened on Monday 30 January 2006 to hear submissions from the Commonwealth Minister for Workplace Relations who sought leave to intervene under section 30(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1979 (WA). After hearing those submissions the Commission adjourned for a short period and reconvened to announce they would allow the intervention.

Given that the claim was to provide a 4% wage increase to the minimum wage and to all wage rates contained in State awards, the Commonwealth was granted leave to intervene on the basis of its broader interest in the national economy and the WAIRC's obligation in these proceedings under s.26(1) of the Act to consider the state of the national economy.

The intervention has been limited to the grounds and submissions already filed which go to a concern regarding inconsistency of wage outcomes between the federal and State industrial relations systems.

Submission re no jurisdiction or power
CCI and AMMA submitted that there is no jurisdiction or power for the WAIRC to deal with the application. The TLC and the WA Minister maintain the WAIRC does have the jurisdiction.

It was agreed that this submission goes to the interaction between ss. 50 and 51 of the Act and would be dealt with by written submissions. The TLC and the WA Minister requested 2 weeks to present their submissions and the CCI and AMMA requested a similar period for them to respond. The WAIRC will then decide that issue and the issue of the adjournment (see below) together and, if the hearing is to proceed, issue a timetable for submissions, written evidence and days of hearing in the substantive claim.

Submissions re whether to adjourn
The Commonwealth Minister, supported by the CCI WA and AMMA, requested the proceedings be adjourned to await the determination in Spring 2006 of the Australian Fair Pay Commission and then the AIRC's determination. The TLC and the WA Minister opposed this adjournment. Submissions on this were made during the hearing and the WAIRC will decide this point once the question of jurisdiction and power is decided after the written submissions have been received.

Joint Proceedings
The TLC has abandoned its claim that the WAIRC hear this claim in joint conferences and proceedings with the AIRC and the other States' industrial relations tribunals and point 5 of the TLC's claim was deleted by consent.

Submissions re proposed timetable
All parties are content to rely upon their written submissions.

 

John Spurling
REGISTRAR
1 February 2006

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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