Crossbench on front foot over IR

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 8 : 17-Feb-21

The federal government will not proceed with legislation to allow coronavirus-hit employers to temporarily bypass the Fair Work Act’s ‘better off overall test’. The ACTU and Senate crossbenchers have welcomed the decision, but contend that further changes to the industrial relations omnibus bill are needed. Shadow industrial relations minister Tony Burke says the government had only backed down because it would not get the proposed reform through the Senate. Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott says the remaining changes in the omnibus bill will ‘reinvigorate’ the enterprise bargaining system.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Fair Work president resists Porter IR plan

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 8-Feb-21

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has rejected criticism of the federal government’s proposal for the Fair Work Commission to approve enterprise agreements within 21 days. FWC president Iain Ross has argued that this requirement is unnecessary and could result in unintended consequences, such as giving approval to workplace agreements that are subsequently found to contain technical or substantive defects. Justice Ross also warns that more applications for enterprise agreements may be withdrawn or rejected under the proposed reforms. The Senate will begin an inquiry into the omnibus industrial relations bill on 8 February.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EDUCATION, SKILLS AND EMPLOYMENT, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Labor snubs job-saving IR reboot

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 14 : 9-Dec-20

Labor has advised that it will not support a key provision in the federal government’s industrial relations omnibus bill. The controversial reform would allow the Fair Work Commission to approve enterprise agreements that do not comply with the ‘better-off-overall test’ in the Fair Work Act. The FWC will be able to take into account factors such as the impact of COVID-19 in approving non-compliant agreements. ACTU secretary Sally McManus says the proposed reform is ‘diabolical’, although it has been welcomed by business groups

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU

Builders slam BCA’s union deal

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 18-Sep-20

Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn has confirmed reports that she left a meeting of the federal government’s industrial relations working group "in disgust" over revelations that the Business Council of Australia had struck a deal with the ACTU. The proposed deal would allow union enterprise agreements to be approved within 14 days; employers had pushed for all agreements to be approved within this time-frame. Wawn has expressed concern that amongst other things, the fast-tracked process for union agreements will favour large companies over small businesses.

CORPORATES
MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, ACTU

Shop workers union open to simpler IR rules

Original article by Natasha Gillezeau, David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 26-Jun-20

The Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association’s national secretary Gerard Dwyer says it is open to the idea of making enterprise bargaining more straightforward. He says that if an agreement has satisfied the ‘better off overall test’ and the majority of employees are in favour of it, then it should not take 12 months to get the agreement ratified. Dwyer has also attacked the rival Retail & Fast Food Workers Union, which has challenged some SDA agreements in the Fair Work Commission, saying it is a political organisation rather than an industrial one.

CORPORATES
SHOP, DISTRIBUTIVE AND ALLIED EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION, RETAIL AND FAST FOOD WORKERS UNION INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Porter cuts fast-track rule on new work deals

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 12-Jun-20

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has advised that a temporary change to workplace laws in response to the coronavirus has been repealed. The notice period for changes to enterprise agreements was reduced from seven days to just 24 hours in April, prompting unions to warn that it could be open to abuse. Porter says a review found no evidence that the regulation had been misused, and he stresses that the change was always intended to be temporary and is no longer needed. The Federal Court was scheduled to rule on the regulation’s validity on 12 June, following a legal challenge by the construction union.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

BOOT test a hurdle for IR reform: Scott

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 10-Jun-20

Wesfarmers CEO Rob Scott says that Australia’s first recession in three decades requires a new approach to industrial relations. He says the ‘better off overall test’ in the Fair Work Act in particular is a hindrance to finalising enterprise bargaining agreements. He argues that employees and businesses alike benefit from EBAs if they are structured in the right way. Wesfarmers’ trading update shows that Bunnings has recorded sales growth of 11.3 per cent so far in 2019-20, while Kmart’s sales are up 6.1 per cent.

CORPORATES
WESFARMERS LIMITED – ASX WES, BUNNINGS GROUP LIMITED, KMART AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Retail union stands firm over BOOT

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 29-May-20

The Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association has expressed support for an overhaul of the enterprise bargaining system. However, national secretary Gerard Dwyer says the union is of the view that the ‘better off overall test’ is not the primary cause of delays in negotiating and implementing workplace agreements. Employers’ group contend that the BOOT is a key problem that needs to be addressed. The proportion of private sector employees who are covered by enterprise agreements has fallen from 22 per cent in 2013 to just 12.8 per cent.

CORPORATES
SHOP, DISTRIBUTIVE AND ALLIED EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION

Porter to consider EBA change limit

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 13-May-20

The Greens will back Labor’s Senate motion to disallow a regulation that temporarily reduces the notice period for changes to enterprise agreements from seven days to just 24 hours. Attorney General Christian Porter has signalled that the federal government may be open to One Nation’s proposal to limit any such variations in enterprise agreements to 12 months. The regulation is slated to expire after six months; shadow industrial relations minister Tony Burke contends that as it stands, any variations to enterprise agreements will remain in place after the pandemic abates, and they will need to be removed via another vote by employee

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, ONE NATION PARTY, CENTRE ALLIANCE

Labor launches Senate push to reverse IR changes

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 21-Apr-20

Shadow industrial relations minister Tony Burke has questioned the need for reforms which reduce the amount of time employees are given to vote on proposed changes to workplace agreements from seven days to just one. The reform was prompted by the pandemic, but Burke argues that any such changes to enterprise agreements will remain in place after the coronavirus abates and will need to be removed via another vote by employees. Labor will put a disallowance motion to the Senate when parliament resumes, and it intends to seek the support of crossbenchers.

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AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY