Thursday, September 27, 2007

Perhaps he's joking

BRISBANE, Sept 27 AAP - Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey says young people are perfectly capable of negotiating pay and conditions with their employers.

Unions have argued the federal government's Work Choices laws give the upper hand to employers, particularly when dealing with young, inexperienced workers.

But Mr Hockey said young people were more used to negotiating these days areas.

"The kids are negotiating mobile phone contracts worth literally thousands of dollars a year," Mr Hockey told ABC Radio...

"In some cases, they are borrowing money for cars, they are going and borrowing money for overseas trips - yet they can't negotiate a contract?"

He said that in any case workers under the age of 18 needed parental consent before they could sign an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA).

Mr Hockey said he would "love to be on AWA".

"But that is for other people," he said.

"I'd love to have a bonus scheme and I'd love to have arrangements that rewarded on the basis of hours of work.

"I'd happily trade off everything."

But he said politicians did not have the opportunity to do so because their pay was set by the independent Remuneration Tribunal.