Truncated Fair Work Amendment Bill passes the Senate

The Fair Work Amendment Bill passed the Senate yesterday, but only after the Government agreed to amendments by the cross-bench senators that carved out large parts of the proposed reforms.

Proposed reforms relating to unions' right of entry, individual flexibility arrangements, leave arrangements and transfer of business arrangements were dropped. What is left of the Bill essentially deals with greenfields arrangements and the right to strike.

The new greenfields provisions will give the Fair Work Commission more power to arbitrate if unions and employers cannot reach agreement about the wages and conditions to apply on new projects. The restrictions on strikes will limit the ability of unions to take industrial action before genuine bargaining has commenced.

The amended Bill will now return to the House of Representatives where the Government has the numbers to ensure it is enacted.