Unions attack Productivity Commission’s Perth no-show

Unions have attacked the Productivity Commission’s decision to cancel today’s public hearing in Perth which was planned to be part of its workplace relations inquiry.

According to the ABC, the Productivity Commission claimed the hearing was cancelled due to lack of interest. However, United Voice said many organisations, including business groups and unions had already indicated their Interest in taking part.

Noting that a hearing is still scheduled for the regional Victorian town of Bendigo, secretary of United Voice WA, Carolyn Smith said, “If you combine the biggest unions­ in WA, many of which were preparing to make presentations at the hearing, it’s higher than the entire population of Bendigo.”

“The powers controlling this inquiry seemingly felt that any worker backlash during the Canning by-election may adversely affect­ the result for the Liberals. They’re probably right.”

Unions WA secretary Meredith Hammat said working people in WA face unique challenges and their opinions deserve to be presented to the inquiry.

"There are a large number of people in Western Australia facing particular challenges and unique issues," she said.

"And the fact that they've chosen not to travel to Perth, not to listen to how their recommendations will affect working people, I think it shows a disgraceful disregard for issues workers in this state are dealing with."

The Productivity Commission Draft Report includes possible workplace relations changes like reducing Sunday penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries and ending four-yearly award reviews.