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Fed: Fielding under enormous pressure over Fair Work bill

17 Mar 2009 2:30 AM

Family First's Steve Fielding is under pressure to back down on attempts to exempt small business from a major part of Labor's industrial laws .. which unions say make them worse than the Howard government's Work Choices.

Senator FIELDING yesterday refused to give way during a meeting with Workplace Relations Minister JULIA GILLARD.

Debate on the bill is due to start Tuesday.

ACTU president SHARAN BURROW has attacked Senator FIELDING'S proposed changes as worse than the former Howard government policy the bill is intended to replace.

Senator FIELDING wants employees in small businesses with less than 20 workers to be exempt from union right of entry and low wage bargaining provisions in the Fair Work bill.

The government proposes small businesses with less than 15 employees have unfair dismissal protection for staff who've served at least 12 months .. and exemption from redundancy entitlements.

Ms BURROW says the proposals will leave up to half of all workers without access to union representation in the workplace .. or protection under proposed low wage bargaining rules.

AAP RTV keh/so/psm/