Grace Collier claims in a Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article that Fair Work is fostering a cash-in mentality.
The article states variously that ‘14,897 people put in conventional unfair dismissal applications’ then just a few paragraphs on that ‘37,262 people lodged individual cases, mainly consisting of unfair dismissal and general protection matters’.
Yet she states ‘before Fair Work, only 17,658 people lodged similar cases’.
The SMH does not give a source for the statistics quoted in the article.
Such claims in the Fairfax press (a ‘fair’ employer of note, no doubt) sadly favour the poor employer. Fairfax (and Murdoch) constantly use the ploy of getting ‘a former union official’ to write such op-ed pieces to show how balanced their reporting is. They do not say which union Grace worked for (it was the CPSU, and then the ASU, both known in the industrial relations club for their radical take-no-prisoners approach in the workplace). Grace apparently now runs for bosses, in her ‘industrial relations consultancy’ claiming in an op ed piece for the Murdoch press that she has “been in the business of making collective agreements for employers for 10 years, and it has never been easier to make collective agreements directly with employees, sidelining unions” — Grace Collier The Australian October 17, 2011.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures (unlike Fairfax WBT quotes its sources), in 2004, there were 5,280 unfair dismissal claims assessed (i.e. a certificate was issued) by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, pre WorkChoices.
Only 42 were successful, and an order made for the employee to be re-instated.
In many of these cases the lawyer for the employer had argued that there are been a breakdown in the relationship between boss and worker and so a pay-out was ordered by the commission. The Workplace Relations Act limited the maximum pay-out to six months wages, the lawyer then received the bulk of the payment in fees.
In one such unfair dismissal case, legal fees of $34K exceeded the pay-out of $31K.
The worker had won (i.e. the commission had ordered that she had been unfairly dismissed) yet she had to break into her super to pay the balance of the legal fees!
Only the lawyers in the industrial relations club can win under workplace laws, past and present.
Whatever happened to direct democracy in the workplace, practiced by workers and their unions prior to the introduction of the arbitration system by the Whitlam government in 1972?
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