Cooperation not litigation is the key to productive workplaces

01 May 2018 |

The Labor Party’s proposal to give the Fair Work Commission more powers would see unions applying for orders to compel employers to accept their demands if they don’t get their way, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.

“Surely policies that promote cooperation and collaboration between employees and employers are preferable to those that encourage hostility and litigation in the workplace?” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said today.

“Enterprise agreement making was intended to enable employers and employees to negotiate arrangements of mutual benefit which would in turn drive productivity in Australian workplaces.

“This is undermined if outcomes are imposed on them instead of actual agreements being reached.

“The reported proposal would further damage enterprise bargaining and drive combative approaches to securing outcomes when employees and employers should be cooperating to achieve outcomes that work for both”, Mr Pearson said.

“There would be no incentive for unions to negotiate constructively with business.

“We would instead see more militancy, strikes and litigation disrupting Australian workplaces and community services.

“Taxpayers will foot the bill for more expensive and delayed hospitals, schools and community infrastructure due to litigation, work stoppages and delays.

The fact is, enterprise bargaining rules do need to change – just not as unions would have it.

“The rules are too complex and minor errors in procedure and paperwork are seeing agreements sunk and disrupting workplaces as a result.

“The current better off overall test is operating in a way that is increasing the cost and complexity of negotiating enterprise agreements and making workplace flexibility and productivity improvements increasingly difficult to achieve.

“We encourage all political parties to work with business to fix the genuine problems with the system. The last thing we need is for politicians, under union pressure, to cave in to radical demands designed to drive conflict and disharmony in Australian workplaces and communities.”

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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