The Pathway to Productivity is through Industrial Relations Reform
During the 46th Parliamentary term, the Australian Government has a long overdue opportunity to fix inefficiencies and reduce red tape within Australia’s workplace laws, boosting our nation’s productivity and competitiveness.
Through its national representative group AMMA, the industry recommends key policy changes that would improve relations between employers and employees, lift business confidence, encourage real wage rises and restore Australia’s reputation as an attractive place to invest and do business.
These changes address a number of elements within Australia’s industrial relations system that cause significant productivity and competitive impacts in the daily operating of resources and energy businesses.
Key workplace reform priorities identified by Australia’s resources and energy industry
ADDRESS THE RAPID DECLINE IN AGREEMENT MAKING
The current system provides fewer productivity gains, promotes third party involvement in business management and operational matters, and requires complicated and costly procedures.
There are a number of barriers employers consistently face in the agreement making process when choosing to participate in the enterprise bargaining.
Another area of serious concern is the FWC’s overly stringent and technical approach to approving agreements, which erodes the competitive advantage of businesses and delays pay rises for employees.
Australia needs a simplified agreement making system to deliver productivity gains, wage increases and jobs.
Click here for the business case for agreement making reform
RESTORE COMMON SENSE TO CASUAL EMPLOYMENT
The decision tested the application of Fair Work Regulations to determine whether employers can offset casual loading paid to an employee who is later found not to be a casual employee.
The judgment renews calls for the Australian Government to resolve the casual employment issue and provide greater clarity and certainty to employers and employees on the rights and entitlements of casual workers in Australian workplaces.
Casual employment is a legitimate model of employment which many Australians consider broadly satisfactory to their individual skills and needs.
Click here for the business case for casual employment reform
ENABLE LIFE-OF-PROJECT AGREEMENTS
Such major projects will grow the Australian economy, create tens of thousands of highly-paid jobs, encourage real wage rises and lift national revenues and living standards.
The Fair Work Act 2009 must allow for Project Life Agreements to operate for a period which matches the life of construction for eligible major projects.
The key benefit of allowing enterprise agreements to match the life of major project construction is eliminating exposure to mid-project construction protected industrial action.
Click here for the business case for Project Life Agreements
REFORM THE ADVERSE ACTION PROVISIONS
The adverse action / general protections provisions were introduced as a vast extension of employee protections that existed under previous Australian workplace laws.
This has seen an alarming number of adverse action claims being made which can be attributed to the unlimited cap on compensation, the nebulous concept of “workplace rights”, and the statutory limitation for claims to be brought.
To ensure these matters are dealt with appropriately, employers should have a genuine reasons defence and complaints that are frivolous and vexatious must be excluded.
Click here for the business case for adverse action / general protections reform
RESTORE BALANCE TO UNFAIR DISMISSAL
Unfair dismissal laws provide reinstatement as an option even in instances where a valid reason for dismissal exists based on serious misconduct.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, including for example where there are proven allegations of workplace violence, harassment, or misconduct.
There should be no question of reinstatement where an employer has conducted a full, proper, and fair investigation and a finding that a valid reason for termination exists.
Click here for the business case for unfair dismissal reform
IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF THE FAIR WORK COMMISSION
Such concerns include unjustifiable delays in agreement approval, unfair dismissal decisions undermining management and over-reliance on public sector conciliators.
AMMA called for a full-scale review into the functions and operation of the independent tribunal.
Reasonable steps can be taken to improve the performance of the FWC to restore confidence in the effective functioning of the most important employment institution.
Click here for the business case for reform at the Fair Work Commission
PASS THE ENSURING INTEGRITY BILL
The Bill is good public policy which has been the subject of significant debate since its introduction.
The cost impact of continuing and expanding unlawfulness is a concern for employers and the public more broadly.
Regenerating public confidence in relation to the conduct and operation of registered organisations is important.
Click here for the business case for reform
ENSURE FLEXIBILITY IN INDUSTRIAL AWARDS
This unnecessary level of regulation is out-dated and rigid, stifling the competitiveness and productivity of Australian businesses in a modern economy.
AMMA welcomes the Australian Government’s consideration of award simplification and looks forward to participating in consultation on behalf of resources and energy employers.
It is essential the award system be simplified, provide necessary flexibility to employers and employees, and require less administrative burden on businesses.
Click here for the business case for award system reform
AMMA’S IMPACT & INFLUENCE
|In January 2020, AMMA wrote to Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, encouraging the Morrison Government to consider a full-scale review into the performance and processes of the Fair Work Commission.|
|In August 2019, AMMA made a submission that supports the passage of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019 following its referral to the Education and Employment Legislation Senate Committee for inquiry.|
|As the leading voice of Australia’s resource and energy employers, AMMA ensures its case for workplace relations reform is represented in public policy discussions and across the media.|