By ALEX EASTON
THE Howard Government needs to rethink plans to exempt businesses of up to 100 employees from unfair dismissal laws, according to Nationals Member for Page Ian Causley.
Mr Causley's comments came as more than 100 unionists gathered outside his Lismore office to protest against proposed new industrial relations laws they say will strip workers of entitlements and job security. The unionists, led by ACTU president Sharon Burrow, argued that most workers on the Northern Rivers worked for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, and all of those would be able to be sacked without recourse to unfair dismissal laws under the government proposals.
The last thing the unionists expected was for Mr Causley to agree with them; but, speaking after the rally, he backed their concerns about unfair dismissal laws.
"In the party room, this is something we're going to have to have a close look at," he said.
"I don't know if you can say a business with 100 employees is a small business ... I'm more concerned about the five to 20-employee group."
However, Mr Causley also said there were problems with the existing unfair dismissal laws, suggesting an entirely new system would be needed.
He also rejected claims the proposal to have a single national award would cut working conditions, saying it would have no impact.