Closure threat over union agreement OK: Fair Work

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 23-Aug-19

The Electrical Trades Union has indicated that it may launch coercion proceedings in the Federal Court regarding an enterprise agreement at New South Wales-based DDP Electrical Services, which excluded the ETU. The Fair Work Commission approved the agreement despite a letter from DDP to its staff which claimed that it would be out of business within six months if the ETU was successful in negotiating a new agreement. The FWC found that the warning was not a breach of ‘good faith bargaining’, as workers were still given a choice between a union and non-union agreement.

CORPORATES
DDP ELECTRICAL SERVICES, ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Dramatic fall in enterprise agreement delays

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 21-Aug-19

Data from the Fair Work Commission shows that it took an average of 35 days to approve enterprise bargaining agreements in the last six months, and an average of just 30 days in the 2018-19 financial year. The FWC has previously attracted criticism from the Australian Mines & Metals Association, which claimed that the average time it takes to approve an EBA had blown out to 76 days. AMMA CEO Steve Knott says delays in approving EBAs are being exacerbated by the way the FWC applies the ‘better-off-overall test’.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS

CFMEU seeks to lock in pay rises forever

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 16-Aug-19

New South Wales employers say the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union draft pattern agreement for that state is the most restrictive they have seen. The agreement essentially calls for pay increases of five per cent a year for as long as the agreement is not terminated or replaced, while it also calls for a ban on large concrete pours after 11am. It also calls for increases to various allowances and casual loadings, for a rostered day off every second week, and for employer contributions to various union-linked entities. The Australian Building and Construction Commission states the draft agreement breaches the federal government’s building code.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION

Stop arguing: Industrial Relations tsar’s call to bosses, unions

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 16-Aug-19

Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross says he agrees with Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott that improving living standards relies on boosting productivity. However, he has queried her claim that the Fair Work Act’s ‘better off overall test’ (BOOT) is a "productivity killer", with the BCA recently saying it wants it replaced with a different test . Ross says doing away with the BOOT could lift profits and reduce wages, but may not necessarily lift productivity. He noted the BCA proposal had received a "predictable response" from Labor and the ACTU that it was Work Choices Mark II.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Bargaining at risk: ex-Fair Work deputy

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 15-Aug-19

Former Fair Work Commission senior deputy president Peter Richard has echoed calls from business that there needs to be a simpler test used to approve enterprise bargaining agreements. The Business Council of Australia stated recently that the existing better-off overall test (BOOT) was a "productivity killer", and Richards says the primary cause of the failing enterprise bargaining system is the BOOT. He says that collective agreements have ironically become "bundles of individual contracts".

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

New wage deals push 3pc pay rises

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 2-Aug-19

Data from the Attorney-General’s Department shows that public sector enterprise agreements that were approved in the March quarter included wage increases of 2.4 per cent, while wages growth under private sector agreements was 2.7 per cent. However, the data excludes 29 per cent of new agreements because they featured ‘non-quantifiable’ wage increases. They included enterprise agreements for Woolworths and David Jones employees, which link pay rises to increases in the minimum wage.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, DAVID JONES LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, BUPA AGED CARE, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED. CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK

Signs that wage rise pick-up is under way

Original article by Matthew Cranston, David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 10-Jul-19

A number of large Australian companies have struck new enterprise agreements which include pay rises that are higher than the current level of wage growth. Some employers in sectors such as retailing and fast food are seeking to increase wages in line with the latest increase in the minimum wage. Meanwhile, Andrew Hanson of recruitment firm Robert Walters says the outlook for the economy and business conditions during the first half of 2019-20 means that more highly-skilled employees are unlikely to receive a significant pay rise.

CORPORATES
ROBERT WALTERS PTY LTD, McDONALD’S AUSTRALIA LIMITED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, HUNGRY JACK’S PTY LTD, BIG W DISCOUNT STORES, KMART AUSTRALIA LIMITED, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, BWS – BEER WINE SPIRITS, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Kelty: cut the top tax rate

Original article by Jennifer Hewett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 8-Jul-19

Former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty warns that Australia’s income tax system will remain uncompetitive unless there is broader reform than the federal government’s tax cuts package. Kelty argues that any reforms to the tax system should be in response to the demands of the future, negating Labor’s view that the stage-three tax cuts should have been put on hold due to uncertainty about the economic outlook in five years’ time, when they are slated to take effect. Kelty also says Australia’s top marginal income tax rate is too high, and changes to the enterprise bargaining system are needed.

CORPORATES
ACTU, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA

IR law too complex to get pay right

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 26-Jun-19

Former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the employee underpayment scandal demonstrates that Australia’s workplace relations system is too complex and needs to be reviewed. She argues that "fundamental misunderstandings" about industrial awards and enterprise agreements are causing workers to be underpaid. Employers’ groups have advocated changes to the procedures for approving enterprise bargaining agreements, amid a blowout in the average number of days the Fair Work Commission takes to approve them and a sharp increase in EBAs that are approved only after employers agree to additional undertakings.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, BEAUREPAIRS, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), ACTU, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, COLES SUPERMARKETS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED. CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK

Shorten reaches out to miners

Original article by Phillip Coorey, Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 10 : 16-May-19

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has indicated that Labor may be open to industrial relations reforms that would allow greenfields enterprise agreements to be struck for the life of a resources project rather than having to be renegotiated every 3-4 years. He argues that this would provide greater certainty for workers, unions, employers and global investors. Shorten also intends to hold a national economic summit in early June if Labor wins the federal election; the agenda will include industrial relations, wages, productivity and the economy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL