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Essential service debate delayed

Government has put on hold controversial plans to reclassify public transport services as “essential”.

The Labour Relations Amendment Act 2014 was scheduled to get its second reading in the House of Assembly today, in what will be the final sitting of Parliament before the Easter break.

Government announced the proposal last month after a number of wildcat strikes by unionised bus and ferry staff brought public transport services to a standstill. The amendment would mean that public transport workers will have to give 21 days notice of any strike action.

But last night Labour and Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said the bill had been deferred “in the best interest of good industrial relations”.

“It is Government's intent however to keep this on the Order Paper and debate the legislation in the weeks to come,” Sen Fahy added.

“Discussions between our union partners continue and as I said a few weeks ago, the Government remains committed to finding a mutually agreed way forward in how we address our labour matters.”

Despite that Bill being held over, Parliamentarians could still be in for a long day, with a raft of other Acts also on the Order of Business for today.

In addition, National Security Minister Michael Dunkley will issue a statement on the National Security and Defence Review, while Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell will outline proposed amendments to the taxi industry, which is expected to include a hike in fares.

And the Opposition Progressive Labour Party's bill to decriminalise cannabis is also expected to be debated after it gets its second reading.

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Published March 21, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 21, 2014 at 10:14 am)

Essential service debate delayed

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