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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2723 ..

MR KAINE: I asked a question on industrial relations yesterday. I understand that the stop-work meeting organised by the Transport Workers Union for today has resulted in the members voting to take part in the Trades and Labour Council stop-work rally on Friday. Minister, are you aware of the information that the resolution was based on and whether the TWU officials have accurately relayed the Government's true position on this issue to their members?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Kaine for his usual excellent question. Today is no change from the usual excellent questions that Mr Kaine asks.

Mr Moore: Of course; you write them for him.

MR DE DOMENICO: That is why they are good questions, then.

Mr Moore: I am sorry; I apologise.


Mr Moore: Mr Speaker, I withdraw any imputation on Mr Kaine.

MR DE DOMENICO: So you should, Mr Moore. Yes, I am aware that the membership of the TWU at ACTION has voted today to join the politically-driven protest rally on Friday. However, I am concerned that the TWU members have made their decision based on entirely misleading and probably false information provided by their leadership. At this stage I hope that this misinformation was inadvertent rather than a deliberate attempt to mislead the membership. I should add that this is particularly disappointing, as the TWU has been, until this date, one of the most reasonable and realistic unions which have worked with the Government rather than against it in achieving the necessary reforms.

I have been informed that the TWU membership based today's decision on claims that a one per cent pre-Christmas wage increase offered by the Government would need to be tied to offsets gained from efficiencies. As I informed the Assembly yesterday, this is totally untrue and typical of the attitude taken by the TLC executive. For the benefit of the TWU leadership, I will repeat the Government's position. It is: If the parties can settle the key components of a new enterprise bargaining agreement before Christmas, we will be prepared to agree to a pre-Christmas pay rise of one per cent, totally unconnected to any productivity negotiations. That one per cent is not the entire offer, as was represented at today's stop-work meeting. It is only the first instalment of the overall negotiated wage increase.

This Government will not be bullied by the unreasonable and purely political stance taken by the TLC executive and inadvertently by the TWU. I have instructed ACTION management that today's stop-work will be unpaid if the union continues along this path. I hope that the TWU leadership will call for another meeting to inform their members of the facts as they are rather than as Mr Pyner would like them to be. If not, this Government will not buckle in the face of the standover tactics and will take the appropriate steps to protect the integrity of the enterprise bargaining process and the integrity of the Canberra taxpayers.

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