Multi-employer bargaining poses economy-wide risks, PC confirms

The Productivity Commission has warned of a potential surge in strikes, supply chain bottlenecks, and a chain reaction of unsustainable wage claims if our workplace relations system is re-focussed towards multi-employer deals.

“The commission’s report confirms what we knew all along: any significant move away from enterprise negotiations by rapidly expanding multi-employer agreements would pose a significant risk to jobs, to productivity, and to business,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“We must heed these concerns. Excessively broadening the scope of multi-employer agreements will lead to industry-wide strike action which we simply cannot afford.

“Recentralising terms and conditions, that take decision making away from employees and employers, would be particularly damaging given already serious global risks and uncertainty.

“If the government is committed to multi-employer bargaining playing a greater role for some industries, this should remain the exception, rather than the rule. At most, there may be scope to adjust some of the detail and procedures for existing multi-employer mechanisms under the Fair Work Act.

“Instead, bargaining at an enterprise level should remain the cornerstone of our workplace relations system, to grow pay packets, improve job security, and boost international competitiveness.

“The commission’s proposals to reduce the complexity of the better off overall test must be considered. Practical and reasonable reforms, including simplification of the existing awards system, are an urgent priority, particularly small businesses.

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020

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