THE ‘conflict model of workplace relations’ or ‘us versus them’ does not accurately describe a large and growing part of Australia’s future workplaces, according to Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten.
However, in his address to the Sydney Institute on 4 April, Mr Shorten acknowledged the place of unions.
“Australian trade unions will continue to play an essential role in a fair distribution of wealth created in Australian workplaces” Mr Shorten said.
He pointed out that we spend, on average, 22 per cent of our time at work, many of us much longer.
“We derive much of our identity and confidence from work. We can benefit from better health and wellbeing at work. We form part of our relationship with government from work. We eschew conflict and seek harmony and security at work,” he said.
“It is no accident that we are called Labor. The creation of good jobs in sustainable industries will depend upon the creation and encouragement of productive and creative capacity in Australian workplaces.”
The minister identified six key trends for the future of work, which were:
- Increased participation – ‘the march of women through the workforce’;
- Spending more time at work and working to an older age;
- Less people working in an office ‘or what I as a union man would recognise as a traditional workplace’;
- A ‘silent revolution’ in service industries, with more jobs in the para-professional, clerical, hospitality and new trade occupations;
- Future generations having lots of different jobs in lots of different industries; and
- Rising wages and productivity, with Australians being five times better off now than they were in 1912 in real terms, according to the government.
To view the minister's full speech, click here.