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Minister Christian Porter has advised that a temporary change to workplace laws in response to the coronavirus has been repealed.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

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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