As previously reported in our
April Update, the Labor Government has draft legislation before
the Federal Parliament to amend the Fair Work Act 2009
(Cth). The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013
(Bill) was read into the House of Representatives
on 21 March 2013. The Bill seeks to introduce a new workplace
bullying complaints regime, expand the right to request flexible
work arrangements, introduce penalty rates in the modern awards
objectives and family friendly provisions including expanding the
eligibility for carer's leave and protections for pregnant
mothers among other things.
Since the Bill was introduced into the Lower House it was
referred to the Senate Committee on Education, Employment and
Workplace Relations Legislation (Senate
Committee). The Senate Committee delivered its report on
14 May 2013 with mixed responses. The main area of contention
appears to arise from the changes to the right of entry laws which
if passed in its current form will make lunchrooms the default
venue for meetings called by visiting union representatives and
will require employers in remote locations to accommodate union
visits to those sites.
Despite strong opposition from employer groups and the Coalition
senators on a few key provisions, it seems the Bill will be
successful given the Labor and Greens Committee members recommended
it be passed through the Senate.
OVER 1000 JOBS TO GO WHEN FORD AUSTRALIA SHUTS DOWN
MANUFACTURING IN AUSTRALIA
On 23 May 2013, Ford Australia President Mr Bob Graziano
announced that Ford Australia will close its manufacturing plants
in Australia in October 2016. The closure of the plants in
Broadmeadows and Geelong located in the State of Victoria will see
over 1,000 jobs cut from the current workforce of over 3,000 Ford
employees in Australia. The plant closures are likely to impact
associated industries, with further flow-on job losses expected in
the components sector that supports the 200,000 employees in the
car manufacturing industry in Australia.
This announcement follows a prediction from former US Ford boss,
Jac Nasser, that the demise of the entire Australian car
manufacturing sector was inevitable. Ford Australia, which
commenced manufacturing in Australia in 1925, joins a growing list
of car manufacturers to close Australian plants, most notably
Mitsubishi Motors Australia which closed its vehicle assembly plant
in 2008. Recently, Holden announced in April 2013 that it would cut
500 jobs and last year Toyota retrenched 350 employees from its
manufacturing plant in Victoria. Despite the plant closures of
Australia's first major car manufacturer, Ford Australia said
it will retain about 1,000 employees in product development.
Out of the 1,200 employee affected by the closure, the
Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is reported to
represent about 90% of those employees. The Federal and Victorian
Governments have offered to contribute financial assistance to deal
with job losses from Ford and supply chain workers affected by the
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