Calls to change Fair Work’s name

Fair Work Australia is under pressure to change its name.

It is believed that the name change will give it an ‘image makeover’ after it has become the "butt of jokes" according to The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), NineMSN reports.

The idea has already gained ground with Fair Work chief Iain Ross.

ACCI CEO Peter Anderson yesterday called on the government to rebrand Fair Work with a "neutral working name", such as the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

Anderson explained that by changing the name it will "minimise reputational damage to the nation’s industrial relations tribunal in the wake of public controversy over its investigation into the Health Services Union".

He added that it will also help to "demark an unambiguous distinction between the tribunal’s arbitral arm and other functions.

"It is damaging to industrial relations and hard for industry to take decisions of an institution seriously when the institution has become the subject of public ridicule, whatever the cause.

"Titles and names matter when they are associated with confused roles, let alone associated with public ridicule."

Fair Work has come under fire for its long running investigation into Federal Labor MP for Dobell, Craig Thomson, as well as for its stance on drug testing in the resources industry.

According to AMMA chief Steve Knott, the industry is supporting Endeavour Energy’s appeal of Fair Work’s previous decision, which ruled that companies could only administer saliva based drug tests, despite urine testing proving more effective.

AMMA said this is contradictory to its earlier decision involving HWE Mining, where a tribunal stated that urine testing was more was more accurate had less false negative results.

Knott said "the resource industry is concerned with both the inconsistent and conflicting decisions coming off the tribunal along with separate legislative proposal to restrict mining industry employers’ ability to introduce urine testing for drug detection.

"The contradictory decisions are not helping employers gain confidence in their ability to properly manage drug and alcohol issues, particularly when the experts have shown saliva testing is more likely to produce false negatives, meaning some workers significantly impaired under the influence of drugs will not be detected."

Anderson also warned against the Fair Work Act review side-stepping real problems with workplace regulations.

"The business community’s tolerance factor to indifferent government policy is very low. Restoring business confidence in government isn’t the product of a singular change to fair work laws, but it would go some way to making a difference."

However the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) voiced their surprise over the ACCI focus on a name change while the review of the Fair Work Act review is going on.

"Quite frankly it’s the least of our worries," it said.

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