Cassin lashes AI Group over awards

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The AMWU is lambasting Australian Industry Group for pushing the Fair Work Commission to abolish Schedule C competencies from the Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award.

AI Group undermining standards: Lorraine Cassin, national secretary, AMWU print division
AI Group undermining standards: Lorraine Cassin, national secretary, AMWU print division

Essentially abolishing the competencies means that employees may need to negotiate their own pay, whereas with Schedule C it was a straighforward quid pro quo; these qualifications equals this pay rate.

Lorraine Cassin, national secretary Print, AMWU, said, “We are disappointed that rather than working with us to find a solution to the out-of-date competencies in the Award, the AI Group just pushed to abolish competencies entirely. This devalues workers’ skills and undermines professional standards in our industries.”

AMWU wanted the FWC to update the competencies, whereas Australian Industry Group, wanted to have them abolished. The PIAA was happy with the status quo, but supported the AMWU in its quest.

Cassin said, “In an industry where most workers don’t have formal qualifications, competencies are an important part of how a worker’s classification, and therefore their pay, can be fairly determined. By removing competencies from the Award entirely, it makes it harder for workers to win changes to their classifications that reflect their skills and their work. 

“We accept that the competencies that were in the Award were out of date, but that does not mean that competencies aren’t important. It is our position that the Award should reflect the relevant competencies that are in the Graphic Arts training package.  

“As a result of this decision by the Fair Work Commission, we will be working to embed competencies in Enterprise Agreements to ensure that workers’ skills are appropriately recognised and remunerated.”

AI Group works across multiple industries and offers an industrial relations service to its members, but unlike the PIAA it charges on a per case basis, whereas PIAA members have all IR services provided as part of their annual fee, with no extra costs involved.

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