Commentaries on IR and Need For Reforms

Below are various commentaries on the workplace relations situation and suggestions for change. Howes has certainly stirred the pot even though his idea of returning to an Accord won’t sell. So too have the ANZ and GE CEOs (amazing how they and others have suddenly emerged from the woodwork).

Letter To The Editor By Des Moore

The debate on whether the SPC’s current agreement with the AMWU has resulted in excessive labour costs seems to overlook some important questions.

First, SPC has not published any information showing why it cannot find from internal economies the $25 million requested from governments.

Second, given the problems of entrenched unionism revealed by SPC and many other companies since the July election, why cannot the Abbott government justify bringing forward major changes to the union-biased Fair Work system in addition to those already promised. Revelations of major changes in circumstances allow major changes in policy.

This is particularly relevant to those companies experiencing increasing international competition. If the Coalition  waits until after the next election to implement reforms which are obviously needed, there will be continued closures and losses of jobs.

Union Bosses in Wages Revolution (The Age)

Paul Howes, head of the Australian Workers Union, believes Australia’s industrial relations system is dragging productivity down.

Union boss Paul Howes has dramatically undermined Bill Shorten’s depiction of the Abbott government as anti-worker, proposing unions enter into a new partnership with the Coalition and business to rein in high wages and lift productivity.

Calling for a ”grand compact” with business and the Abbott government and a new spirit of co-operation to echo the Hawke-Keating government’s accord with unions, Mr Howes stunned fellow unionists by railing against union propaganda and workers pricing themselves out of the market with high wage claims (click HERE to keep reading)

Howes spells out IR home truths (Australian Financial Review)

The string of admissions by Australian Workers Union federal secretary Paul Howes ­confirms much of what critics, such as this newspaper, have been saying about Australia’s industrial relations system for years. The nation’s IR system, ­reinforced over the past six years by Labor, is dragging down the competitiveness of the Australian economy. This is destroying the jobs of Australian workers – particularly in factories such as the SPC Ardmona plant in Shepparton – as the resources construction boom ends and the dollar remains elevated.

Trade unions have to concede that the pattern of unsustainable wages growths in some parts of the economy, notably offshore gas operations that form the economy’s new export hope, has to end. The system has nurtured a “hyper-adversarial culture”. Labor and the trade unions naively had figured that their “fair work” response to John Howard’s WorkChoices would be politically stable.

They were wrong (Click HERE to keep reading)

SPC Ardmona redundancy double what company says (The Australian)

THE vast majority of workers at embattled cannery SPC Ardmona are entitled to lucrative redundancy payouts of up to two years’ wages, the union representing the workforce has confirmed.

Confirmation of the entitlements comes amid a bitter brawl between Tony Abbott and local Liberal Party backbencher Sharman Stone, who has implied the Prime Minister lied about the generosity of conditions at SPC in rejecting the company’s pleas for industry assistance (Click HERE to keep reading; Paywall Protected)

Abbott Warned of Reform Inertia (The Australian)

TONY Abbott’s decision to set up dozens of reviews and inquiries since taking office could extend Australia’s “lost decade of reform”, ANZ Bank chief executive Mike Smith has warned.

Addressing a business function in Perth yesterday, Mr Smith called on the government and fellow business leaders to show more urgency in seizing the massive opportunities presented by the rise of Asia.

He lamented that despite the nation’s proximity to Asia, most Australians seemed to be watching the region’s transformation into an economic giant “with a mixture of complacency and disbelief”.

Living up to his reputation as one of the nation’s most outspoken chief executives, Mr Smith said he was concerned that Mr Abbott’s tendency to establish reviews and inquiries rather than enact urgent policy measures would extend the reform void that had existed under the former Labor government (Click HERE to keep reading, Paywall protected)

Simplify labour laws to save jobs: G20 adviser (The Australian)

General Electric Australia & New Zealand chief executive Steve Sargent says industrial relations legislation needs to be much more flexible.

ONE of the corporate leaders from the business advisory forum for this year’s G20 meeting in Brisbane says disentangling complex labour laws that get in the way of hiring workers is important to creating jobs.

In an exclusive interview before addressing the G20 employment taskforce in Sydney, GE Australia & New Zealand chief executive Steve Sargent said complex labour laws were a global issue and governments had a role in helping people move across industries and locations.

“Think about the world we are heading into, where we are going to need to be much more flexible — we are going to need to be much more adaptable,” Mr Sargent said.

(Click HERE to keep reading, Paywall protected)




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