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WESTERN AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1979
ON COMMISSION’S OWN MOTION
Trades and Labour Council of Western Australia
and
Australian Mines and Metals Association (Inc.)
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (Inc.)
Minister for Labour Relations
(No. 654 of 2000)
COMMISSION IN COURT SESSION
CHIEF COMMISSIONER W.S. COLEMAN
SENIOR COMMISSIONER G.L. FIELDING
COMMISSIONER S.J. KENNER
9 June 2000
STATE WAGE CASE
The Commission, constituted for the purpose of section 51 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1979
(“the Act”), has concluded that there are no good reasons not to give effect to the National Wage
Decision issued as the ‘Safety Net Review – Wages, May 2000’ [Print S5000]. This position has
been reached after hearing from parties pursuant to section 50 (10) of the Act and after affording
any other persons with an interest the opportunity to be heard.
In giving effect to the National Wage Decision the Commission has considered:

submissions going to matters raised by it in a statement issued prior to the hearing under
section 51 of the Act;

the operation of the Wage Fixing Principles in this jurisdiction and proposals submitted for
amendments to the Principles;

the state of the economy and the local industrial relations environment; and
2

the terms under and the manner by which effect should be given effect to the National
Wage Decision
The Commission has decided that:

Awards, but not industrial agreements, should be varied to provide for an arbitrated safety
net adjustment of $15.00 per week and to increase the adult minimum award wage to
$400.40 per week in each case with effect from the first pay period commencing on or after
1st August 2000. The arbitrated safety net increases are to be absorbed under the same
terms as was the case for previous arbitrated safety net adjustments.

The Statement of Principles – July 1999 should be varied to provide the following –
1.
Under Principle 2 the following subclause (h) –
“(h)
a consent variation to a single enterprise specific award under
Principle 10 giving effect to structural efficiency initiatives or
productivity based arrangements.”
2.
Under Principle 10 the following paragraph at the conclusion of the clause “Provided that where parties to a single enterprise specific award apply to
vary the award by consent to give effect to structural efficiency initiatives or
productivity based arrangements the Chief Commissioner may allocate the
matter to a single Commissioner.”
3.
The inclusion of the following Principle
“13.
Duration
This Statement of Principles will operate until reviewed.”
We propose to implement the safety net adjustment and to adjust the adult minimum wage by way
of General Order. We consider this to be the most efficient and effective way to give effect to the
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National Wage Case Decision on this occasion. Nothing was put to us to indicate that either the
national or State economies would suffer if the increases were implemented by a General Order of
the kind we propose. There is nothing to indicate that the implementation last year, on a common
date by General Order, of the previous safety net adjustment to award wages and the increase in
the adult minimum wage adversely affected the economy or caused hardship to employers affected
by that General Order. Such information as there is suggests that only a small percentage of the
workplaces in this State rely on an award to set their actual rates of pay. Needless to say we do
not consider this process as being inconsistent with the determination in the National Wage Case.
Importantly in this context, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission determined that the
wage increases flowing from the National Wage Case would be available “no earlier than
12 months after the increases provided for” in the preceding National Wage Case were
incorporated into the relevant award and that the wage adjustments be available “no earlier than
the date on which the award is varied”. The General Order which we propose gives effect to both
aspects of that formula. Furthermore, consistent with the National Wage Decision the General
Order will provide for the increases to be “fully absorbable against all above award payments”.
Section 51 envisages that the National Wage Decision will be given effect to by a General Order, a
vehicle not available to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, and we propose to utilize
that vehicle fully on this occasion. However because of the individual nature of allowances and
service increments we intend that they be varied in accordance with the terms of Principle 5 on
application as has been the practice in the past.
On Tuesday 27th June the Commission will issue the Minutes of a Proposed Order with schedules
amending awards in terms of the arbitrated safety net adjustments, the increase in the adult
minimum award wage and amendments to overcome the compounded effect of a series of
repetitious absorption provisions.
Speaking to the Minutes of Proposed Order will take place on Friday 7thJuly 2000.
COMMISSION IN COURT SESSSION
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