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.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Ex-Fair Work senior official calls for bargaining overhaul

Original article by David Marin-Guzman, Hannah Wootton
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 16-Apr-20

A former senior deputy president of the Fair Work Commission warns that strict application of the ‘better off overall test’ is contributing to the decline of enterprise agreements. Jonathan Hamberger, who stepped down from the FWC in late 2019, has praised the flexibility of employers and unions in negotiating changes to industry awards during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that such flexibility is needed in the enterprise agreement system. Amongst other things, he says the better off overall test should be replaced with the ‘no disadvantage test’.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU

Wharfies vote to reject new EBA

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 8 : 14-Apr-20

Victoria Inter­national Container Terminal employees have voted against a new non-union enterprise agreement at Webb Dock in Melbourne. The current agreement is due to expire in October. The Maritime Union of Australia has lodged a claim with VICT that would see the pay and conditions of its workers brought into line with those at Qube, DP World and Patrick. MUA official Will Tracey says it and VICT are "not that far apart" on salaries, while the MUA may review its log of claims, given that most of it was compiled before the COVID-19 outbreak.

CORPORATES
VICTORIA INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER TERMINAL LIMITED, MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA, QUBE HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX QUB, DP WORLD AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PATRICK CORPORATION LIMITED

Politics is killing productivity, says McKibbin

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Mar-20

Professor Warwick McKibbin of the Australian National University warns that productivity reform will not be achieved without support from both sides of politics. The former Reserve Bank board member has told a business summit that the political system is the biggest hurdle to achieving such reform. Meanwhile, Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott has called for an overhaul of the enterprise bargaining regime, arguing that it is no longer working.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Employer warning on wage reforms

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 2-Mar-20

ACTU secretary Sally McManus has criticised a proposal to allow workers to trade off penalty rates in return for higher basic wages. Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross has raised the prospect of extending ‘loaded rates’ in enterprise agreements to workers who are covered by industry awards. Employers’ groups have expressed support for the proposal, but some warn that it will not succeed if the FWC continues to adopt a ‘technical approach’ to approving enterprise agreements.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Wage theft: Employer calls to reform award system are a bare-faced con job

Original article by Martijn Boersma
The New Daily – Page: Online : 23-Feb-20

PwC has estimated that Australian workers are underpaid $1.35 billion each year, with 13 per cent of the workforce impacted. In certain sectors, the figure increases to 21 per cent of workers. Companies that have been found to have underpaid staff are tending to blame the award system for the problem, contending that it is overly complicated. Employers and employer groups say that the system needs to be simplified, but what they are really want is to reduce the role of governments and unions in wage determination.

CORPORATES
PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS AUSTRALIA (INTERNATIONAL) PTY LTD, CALTEX AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX CTX, COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW

Unions lean on ALP over super choice bill

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 7-Feb-20

The union movement is urging Labor to vote against proposed legislation that would ban enterprise agreements from stating that workers must join a union-backed superannuation fund. Labor senator Tony Sheldon recently warned the party’s caucus against voting for the bill, while ACTU assistant secretary Scott Connolly says the proposed legislation would have a major impact on industry funds such as UniSuper.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, UNISUPER LIMITED

Pay falls as non-union agreements rise

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 8-Nov-19

Wage increases in new private sector agreements fell from 2.9 per cent to 2.8 per cent in the June quarter, according to data from the Attorney-General’s Department, while public sector agreement pay rises grew from 2.4 per cent to 2.6 per cent. The number of non-union agreements increased by 60 per cent between the March and June quarters, and Centre for Future Work economist Alison Pennington says it is possible that non-union agreements could rise as a proportion of all approved agreements from 22 per cent to 27 per cent by the end of 2019.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED. CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK