Friday, 19 February 2010

I have to ask, "Cui bono?"

Has the Industrial Relations tribunal gone mad?
If the reporting is correct they have demanded the reinstatement of a worker who was legitimately sacked for repeatedly breaching safety regulations. They agreed that the worker was at fault. They agreed that the company in question had the right to sack him. They agreed that it was not a one off offence. They agreed that the worker had a poor attitude and that he was abusive. All that and they demanded his reinstatement because he is (a) middle aged, (b) poorly educated, (c) has three children and (d) a mortgage.
Now if he has an accident the company will be (a) heavily fined and (b) his employers could find themselves in gaol. His fellow employees have to continue to work with him and that may put them at risk.
What is the law there for? Why bother with dismissal legislation?
The union movement is also flexing muscles to an extent that the Japanese have apparently warned the Australian government that our industrial regulations are jeopardising international investment and trade. For the Japanese to even comment on the internal regulations of another country would appear to suggest that there is a problem.
But there is another problem that bothers me. The new industrial regime is making it more and more difficult for people with disabilities to get real work. True more of them appear to be getting work - until you analyse the nature of that work. It is often very part-time, almost always casual. It is low paid and unskilled. Even if you have qualifications and skills you will almost certainly be underemployed on a part-time, casual basis. The employer will have been careful to ensure that the job description does not discriminate and that there has been no apparent discrimination in the selection process - but the discrimination will be there. The employer will simply say privately that they cannot afford to take the risk - because of the government's industrial relations measures.


Rachel Fenton said...

I think the word disability is very misleading. It's obviously not working. It allows for people to discriminate in the name of safety. We need a new word. Suggestions?

catdownunder said...

If you come up with one I would like to know!