T9605 T9663 T9664
TASMANIAN INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION
Industrial Relations Act 1984
Tasmanian Trades and Labor Council
The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, Tasmanian Branch
(T9664 of 2001)
Wage Rates - State Wage Case July 2001 - application to vary private sector awards in a manner consistent with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission decision in Print PR002001 - Safety Net Review 2001 - Wages - Allowances - Memorandum of Understanding - Approved
REASONS FOR DECISION
(1) This is an application pursuant to section 23 of the Industrial Relations Act 1984, by the Tasmanian Trades and Labor Council (TTLC) lodged on 8 June 2001. The application seeks to vary private sector awards in a manner consistent with the Safety Net Review 2001 decision of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) in Print PR002001.
(2) Ms L Fitzgerald, for the TTLC, presented the following memorandum of understanding which had been reached between the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Limited (TCCI) and the TTLC.
"1. Wage rates in private sector awards be increased by the safety net adjustment of $13.00 for wages up to $490.00 per week, $15.00 for wages over $490.00 and up to $590.00 per week and $17.00 for wages over $590.00 per week including junior, apprentice and trainee rates (on a proportionate basis) as from the first full pay period to commence on or after 1 August 2001.
The safety net adjustment be reduced to the extent of any over award payment currently being paid by the employer.
2. Wage rates in private sector awards will only increase by the safety net adjustment as from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2001 where:
· existing wage rates have been varied to include the arbitrated safety net adjustment arising out of the August 2000 State Wage case, and
· a period of 12 months has elapsed since the wage rates in the award were increased to reflect the safety net adjustment arising out of the August 2000 State Wage Case.
In awards where the variation for a safety net adjustment arising from the August 1999, August 2000 or August 2001 State Wage Case decisions is by consent and does not result in an increase in the wage rates actually paid to employees or increase the wage costs for any employer, any applicable 12 months' delay between variations may be waived.
3. Existing allowances relating to work or conditions be increased by 3.05% as from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2001."
(3) Ms Fitzgerald submitted that there were a number of strong arguments as to why the Tasmanian Industrial Commission (TIC) should flow on the decision of the AIRC.
(4) She said that "Firstly, in terms of past practice and precedent. With regard to practice and precedent it is appropriate to reiterate that on no previous occasion since this commission's introduction of the current regime of Wage Fixing Principles in 1985, has the commission declined to flow-on the quantum of wage increases awarded by the federal National Wage Case or Safety Net Adjustment decisions."
(5) Ms Fitzgerald discussed the Tasmanian economy and said "In summary, the economic evidence demonstrates that the commission's decision last year did not adversely affect employment and perhaps assisted in creating greater demand for local goods and services. Given the Treasury forecast, the meagre increases being sought will not have a detrimental impact on the level of employment, thus the bench can be satisfied that the public interest test is met."
(6) Mr T Pearce, intervening on behalf of the Minister for Industrial Relations, said that the Tasmanian Government urged the commission to adopt, in full, the form and quantum of wage increases determined by the AIRC in Print PR002001.
(7) Mr Watson, appearing for the TCCI, said that TCCI did not oppose or wish to delay the implementation of the wage claim "on the grounds of the economic climate within Tasmania".
(8) He said "The Tasmanian economy in the aggregate has continued to improve since the last State Wage Case decision albeit the rate of growth has tapered significantly. The last two years without doubt can be described as sound in the Tasmanian economy. Positive progress was made in most areas with the state embarking on bridging the substantial gap between its own and national economic performances that has characterised for the last decade."
(9) And further "The TCCI is of the view that this improvement has arisen primarily due to the continuing strong performance of the national economy, the resurgence of Tasmania's export destinations and a majority government within Tasmania which has boosted confidence."
(10) Mr Watson clarified paragraph one of the MOU saying "Where it talks about the safety net adjustment be reduced to the extent of any overaward payment currently paid by the employer, we did meet about this yesterday and it's certainly the understanding that that also includes any increases subject to enterprise bargaining that may be subject to registered agreements in the commission unless they contain a specific provision that says that the full safety net adjustment will be flowed on."
(11) The commission endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding between the TTLC and the TCCI, which was also endorsed by the Government, and the increases found therein will take effect from the first pay period on or after 1 August, 2001.
(12) The TTLC was requested to provide the commission with information as to which awards had not been varied to include any past National Wage Case or Safety Net Review decisions.
(13) The Review of the Wage Fixing Principles of 1999 in T8413 and 8483 of 1999 remain unamended.
(14) Any variation to the Silviculture and Afforestation Award and the Business Services Award arising from this decision will be subject to separate application to the commission.
(15) The commission will issue orders in due course to give effect to this decision.
P L Leary
Date and place of hearing: