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THE NEWS WRAP: Leaked documents reveal Gillard’s shift on compulsory arbitration

Monday, 3 June 2013 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned about the “significant legal risks” of compulsory arbitration in a confidential 2010 letter to the ACTU, leaked to The Australian.


The letter points out the government’s view at the time was that fair Work Australia should not be given new powers to settle disputes about national employment standards or modern awards by creating new rights, with such powers bringing the risk of a constitutional challenge.


“Such a challenge would take time to be resolved and this in itself would create significant undesirable uncertainty around the validity of agreements, the bargaining framework and the (Fair Work) Act as a whole,” Gillard warned in the letter.


Coles planning to shelve independent field agents


Coles is considering a radical plan to sideline independent field agents by licencing a small number of agents with agreed fees that would deal with suppliers and the supermarket.


“One area suppliers tell us we could improve is how we work with their field force teams – reps they employ to support their brand in-store,” a Coles spokesperson says.


“So we are currently exploring options to make this service better for suppliers, better for our stores and most importantly better for customers.”


Retailers embrace UnionPay in a bid for the $800 million Chinese tourist market


A growing number of retailers including David Jones are embracing UnionPay, a bank card system favoured by middle class tourists from China, with $800 million expected to be spent through the payment system this year.


“Overseas merchants pay careful attention to Chinese consumers. For example, foreign visitors are responsible for a significant portion of consumer spending in Australia and the Chinese are the most important part of this group,” UnionPay chairman Su Ning says.


“We have long recognised that as retailers we are competing internationally and the ability to tap into the lucrative Chinese markets is a great strategic advantage for us,” David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra said.




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