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Time to "put down weapons" for IR reform: PM

National

Unions, employers and government will work together on industrial relations reforms to help kickstart the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Australian Council of Trade Unions head Sally McManus says she will be genuinely listening to employers groups.

“We’re going to give it a go and we reckon that’s worth it for working people,”  McManus told Nine’s Today show on Wednesday.

The meetings are part of the federal government’s “JobMaker” plan announced Tuesday.

Five working groups would look at industrial relations reforms designed to help coronavirus recovery.

They will review awards, enterprise bargaining agreements, casual work, union and employer misconduct and greenfields – agreements that set flat wages and conditions throughout the lifetime of a construction project.

“I think for a long time we’ve been in our corners and seen things through a prism of WorkChoices really,” McManus said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was time for all parties involved to “put down their weapons”.

“It’s a consensus-based process,” Morrison told the ABC on Wednesday.

Asked if he would guarantee that workers won’t be worse off as a result of the negotiations, Morrison said the debate shouldn’t be so black and white.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said employers were willing to put the past behind them.

“We are all doing this for the people who need their jobs back,” she told ABC.

She welcomed news the government had ditched laws making it easier to deregister unions and ban officials.

“We need to focus on the task at hand,” Westacott said.

-AAP

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