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Issue # 1414      10 June 2009

All industrial action to be unlawful for a month

The federal government is effectively outlawing all industrial action throughout Australia for over a month as a result of an error in drafting the transitional arrangements to the new Fair Work Act, said National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Victorian secretary, Matthew McGowan.

“The government needs to fix this. We wrote to the Minister weeks ago and we have had no response. Not even a return phone call.”

The NTEU will be required to re-ballot its members engaged in industrial action with several Victorian universities despite receiving over 83 percent support for its industrial campaign in a recent ballot conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission just weeks ago.

The most recent ballot was declared on May 20, meaning the union will be required to conduct a second ballot just 6 weeks later.

“Orders of the Commission requiring unions to cease industrial action will remain in force from July 1, why won’t orders providing for industrial action be treated the same” he said.

In a letter to federal government parliamentarians, Mr McGowan stated that “The effect of this will be to create a period of over a month where all industrial action by any union throughout the country will be unlawful. Given there is no impact on the operation of the Fair Work Act created by resolving this problem, we do not understand why the government appears intent on persisting with this anomaly.

“I have written to the Minister, Julia Gillard, seeking a review of the transitional arrangements. To date, I have had no reply and have not even had my phone calls returned from her office.”

Next article MUA calls for urgent change to handle future freight task

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