Church leaders have IR concerns

Sydney, Australia - AUSTRALIAN church leaders have requested a meeting with Prime Minister John Howard to express concerns about the federal government's workplace relations changes.

The National Council of Churches (NCCA), which includes leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, and Uniting churches, as well as 12 other national church groupings, say they are worried about the impact on workers and want to meet Mr Howard.

"We are uneasy about the bottom line in all this," said NCCA general secretary Reverend John Henderson.

"If this is about Australia remaining competitive as a nation, as Mr Howard has said, then it should not be achieved at the expense of Australian workers and their families.

"The value of each worker is not as a commodity, but as a person, a human being, loved by God. Our community has values that are more important than economics."

The council called on the federal government to "slow down and step back from its apparent haste".

"To rush into this would be to risk a disaster for everyone," Rev Henderson said.