24/12/2008 - 09:13

IR changes pose risk to WA projects

24/12/2008 - 09:13

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The development and successful completion of Western Australian projects will be at risk under the federal government's proposed industrial relations changes, a state business lobby group says.

The development and successful completion of Western Australian projects will be at risk under the federal government's proposed industrial relations changes, a state business lobby group says.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA said businesses are concerned that unions will be given the power to delay important projects under the proposed new industrial relations system.

The proposed system requires employers to notify every union that has a potential interest in the project to negotiate pay and conditions for a new workforce.

Currently employers use "greenfield agreements" on new projects, a form of workplace bargaining which is seen as a fast and efficient way for employers to hire the skilled workforce.

"Under the proposed changes, employers won't be able to negotiate agreements for a new project, unless every union with a potential interest in the project agrees. Such agreements are likely to be time consuming and could cause delays in getting the project started," CCIWA chief executive James Pearson said.

"Currently, unions have an incentive to strike deals with employers in order to be granted access to workplaces. If the Government's proposed changes go ahead, unions will have access regardless.

"There is also increased risk that union demarcation disputes will jeopardise the successful completion of projects.

"The need for a modern and flexible industrial relations system has never been greater as the global community looks to business and industry to drive economic growth, create more jobs and help insulate the local economy from the current global economic uncertainty.

"With major projects planned for WA that will help ensure the State's and the Nation's ability to ride out these difficult times, now is not the time to increase risk unnecessarily."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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