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Many IR issues ‘still unaddressed,’ says AiGroup

31-08-2010
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Many IR issues ‘still unaddressed,’ says AiGroup

Improving Australia’s workplace relations laws will increase business confidence and will have a positive impact on investment and employment decisions.

So says Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox.

Speaking in Melbourne recently, Mr Willox described the Coalition’s workplace relations policy as “overly cautious” with some key issues left unaddressed.

The AiGroup’s main concerns include:

  • Any changes recommended by the proposed Productivity Commission inquiry in the Fair Work Act, will not be implemented until after the 2016 Federal Election;
  • The government’s “extremely generous” paid parental leave scheme will impose an unfair cost burden on larger employers and
  • The Coalition’s workplace relations policy does not go far enough in addressing the concerns of industry in key areas such as the general protections and transfer of business.

“Even though the policy is overly cautious, it contains some useful measures,” Mr Willox said.

Key elements include:

  • Changing the bargaining laws to give more emphasis to productivity and the need for bargaining claims to be sensible and realistic;
  • A better framework for Individual Flexibility Arrangements to stop unions blocking employers and individual employees reaching agreements; and
  • More balanced laws regarding union right of entry, including repealing Labor’s recent amendments to the Fair Work Act which will give union officials the right to have meetings with employees in lunch rooms.

“The Coalition also intends to implement some useful changes recommended by the Fair Work Act,” Mr Willox said.

This includes reviews in the areas of transfer of business, the general protections and leave arrangements.

Of course far more significant changes are needed to remove the barriers that the Fair Work Act is currently imposing on productivity and flexibility improvement.

“We will keep working hard on industry’s behalf over the months and years ahead to achieve the most productive, flexible and fair workplace relations system we can,” Mr Willox said. 

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