Media Release: Employment Grows –But Faster Growth in Drop Outs

Media Release: Employment Grows –But Faster Growth in Drop Outs

The May ABS Labour Force figures show growth in employment continuing but at a much slower rate than the growth in the working age population (WAP) – over the past 12 months employment rose by only 0.9% while the WAP increased at double that rate (1.8%).

This indicates further large increases in those who have given up actively looking for work.

Labour Force – Increases Since May 2013

000s             Percent

Employment                                 994                0.9

Working Age Population           3,398               1.8

Unemployed                                   43                6.4

Although the unemployment rate is unchanged at 5.8% (S Adj), this does not provide an accurate indication of the weakness of the labour market. A much more important test is whether the growth in employment is keeping up with the working age population increase. Before the Fair Work legislation employment was growing faster than the WAP.

Unless there is a major improvement in labour demand the Abbott Government will not achieve the budget forecast employment growth of 1.5% in 2014-15. And Abbott’s pre-election jobs target of a one million increase within five years will fall well short. Read more

Prime Minister’s jobs target and the forgotten people

Prime Minister Abbott’s target of creating one million new jobs within five years is unrealistic unless artificial barriers to workers and employers agreeing mutually satisfactory wages are removed.

If September 2013 is taken as the start date for the creation of the one million new positions, then to meet the September 2018 deadline an 8.7% increase in employment will be required, a 1.7% annual average, almost double the current annual growth (to April 2014) of just 0.9%.

In addition the one million jobs target will not keep pace with the growth in the working age population and more will be required than the trade and deregulation stimulus on which the target is based. Read more

Media Release: Australia needs urgent labour market reform, not an inquiry

The Abbott Government should abandon its tedious and lengthy Productivity Commission inquiry into Australia’s industrial relations settings, and instead move urgently to free up the labour market in order to stimulate the economy.

Australian and international experts will outline the case for urgent liberalisation of Australia’s labour market at the HR Nicholls Society’s annual conference, to be held in Brisbane next week.

The slowing economy, job-sapping union militancy and the developed world’s highest labour unit costs will be on the agenda for discussion at the conference on May 17. Read more

Australia at risk from unsustainable union pay claims, international expert warns

Unsustainable union demands around pay and conditions are driving international investment away from developed economies such as Australia, one of the world’s leading business “turnaround” experts has warned.

US business recovery specialist Greg Rayburn made the comments ahead of the 34th annual conference of the HR Nicholls Society, which will be held in Brisbane next month.

Mr Rayburn will detail his experiences with American bakery company Hostess Brands, which was forced into liquidation in 2012 as a result of nation-wide strike action after management was unable to reach a new pay and benefits deal with workers. Read more

Media Release: Qantas Chairman to Address HR Nicholls Society

I am delighted to announce that the Chairman of Qantas, Leigh Clifford, will make the annual address at this year’s meeting of the  HR Nicholls Society on Thursday 5 December. Mr Clifford has agreed to talk about the need for reform of workplace relations in order to improve productivity and international competitiveness.

Adam Bisits, President of the HR Nicholls Society, said that from his experience as Chief Executive of Rio Tinto from 2000 to 2007, and since then as Qantas Chairman, Mr Clifford has first-hand experience of the difficulties facing companies in negotiating with unions on claims which often relate to issues that are largely peripheral to conditions employees can reasonably expect employers to provide. It is anomalous that, under the Fair Work legislation and its administration, conditions of employment are effectively determined by members of tribunals who have little or no experience in running a business. Those conditions should be determined primarily by direct negotiation between employers and employees and it should be recognised that, in a less regulated labour market, there would no underlying imbalance of bargaining power between employers and employees.     Read more

Fall in Employment Confirms Urgent Need for Action by Abbott Government

Fall in Employment Confirms Urgent Need for Action by Abbott Government

The fall in employment of nearly 11,000 in August confirms the earlier call by the HR Nicholls Society’s to Tony Abbott (see release of 25 Aug) to  make the major changes to the existing legislation that will be needed just to reach the “sensible centre” to which he committed the Coalition.

The foreshadowed restoration of ABCC powers and other minor reforms are welcome but will not change the behaviour of militant unions outside the construction industry. Read more

Excessive Powers of Unions Confirmed

Confirmation of the HR Nicholls Society’s view that  the existing workplace regulations are damaging productivity has emerged with yesterday’s revelation that crane lifts on wharves in the East Coast are about 20% higher than in Fremantle. The lower rate there reflects the go-slow tactics adopted by the Maritime Union of Australia in its attempt to obtain from the $52 bn LNG Chevron project in Western Australia a 26% wage increase over 4 years including a claim for personal toilets. It is little short of a disgrace that the MUA, one of Australia’s most powerful trade unions (which has  a long standing “history” of  creating low productivity working environments), is able to operate without fear of the Fair Work Commission imposing a penalty sufficient to force it to stop action that disrupts business activity and lowers productivity. Read more

Reduce Powers of Fair Work Australia

The HR Nicholls Society welcomes the undertaking given by Coalition Leader, Tony Abbott, that if elected he will restore workplace relations regulation to the “sensible centre”. However, to reach the sensible centre will involve major legislative changes requiring that decisions by the Fair Work Commission involving increases in wages and other improvements in working conditions provide for increases in productivity and that those increases are formally agreed by both employers and (where involved) unions. The Commission should also be required to make decisions consistent with the economic policies of the Government.

These changes should not simply involve the establishment of an appeal body: Fair Work’s role must itself have appropriate provisions.

The problem with existing arrangements was highlighted by the Fair Work Commission decision yesterday to award massive increases (18-30%) in wage rates for apprentices. This decision was by a full bench comprised of all ex-unionists. If implemented it would clearly have adverse effects on employment, particularly youth employment. HR Nicholls calls for the Coalition to announce that if elected it  will take steps to ensure the decision is reviewed.

However HR Nicholls welcomes the statement by the head of the ACTU, Dave Oliver, that a Coalition government should not “tear up agreements negotiated freely between workers and employers” in regard to new projects. Agreements negotiated freely between workers and employers should not be confined to new projects but should extend across the board, provided they are negotiated freely. Mr Abbott should remind Oliver that it is  the responsibility of the federal government to manage the economy.

Adam Bisits, President HR Nicholls Society (0438 405 527)
Publicity Officer: Des Moore (9867 1235)

THE $19K Employment Exclusion Zone


The gap between the Newstart allowance and the federal minimum wage has created a $19,000 Employment Exclusion Zone.

It is this zone – the difference between the $12,922 Newstart allowance and the $31,536 federal minimum wage where it is illegal for employers to take on people.

It is the ghostlands for the unemployed – those people willing to work for less than the minimum wage.

These people are the long term unemployed, young workers, students, single parents and so on.

The most recent (September 2012) ABS People Not In The Labour Force survey found there were 106,600 discouraged job seekers.

These were people who wanted to work and were available to start work if offered a job, but were not actively looking for one because they believed they would not find one.

These are the people in the Employment Exclusion Zone. Read more