May 252007

A bit after the facts, really.
From yesterday’s PM program

In a written statement, WorkDirections, a subsidiary of Therese Rein’s business, says when it acquired an employment firm mid last year the common law contracts offered to staff had an above award amount calculated to compensate employees for the entitlements traded away. But that in December WorkDirections discovered the duties of some staff hadn’t been properly classified, so that 58 of the 220 staff had been paid less than they were entitled to. Most have since got backpay and the company’s in the process of finding the rest who’ve left.

Yes, anything to do with Therese Rein reflects on Kevin Rudd, whether he likes that reflection, or not. While Rudd might be experiencing some elements of embarrassment, clearly, as my emphasis in the above transcript highlights, these events happened almost 12 months ago, were discovered almost six months ago, and are or already have been, addressed by the corporate entity concerned. As Sharan Burrow pointed out this morning, if all Australian employers acted as Workdirections has done, then the industrial relations environment in this country would be a damn sight less contentious.
In addition, Howard’s claim of hypocrisy on the part of Labor, in railing against AWA’s while Rudd’s wifes own company has an employee remuneration issue in train, appears both irrelevant and misdirected. Workdirections apparently employs under common law contracts. These contracts are not AWA’s and still retain the relevance to and protections of the award system. Another Howardian bolt shot off in a rush which has missed its target.
Yet another sign of a government desperate to grab onto any skerrick of scandal which might even be slightly related to Labor policy, rather than attempting to rectify the yawning chasms in acceptibility within the electorate regarding its own.

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