The Fair Work Commission’s decision to boost pay in the aged care sector is a win for workers and shows that a considered, careful workplace relations system can deliver, Jennifer Westacott said.
“This is a win for low paid workers in an overwhelmingly feminised industry.
“It shows that the awards system can lift the wages of hundreds of thousands of Australians when it works.
“The determining factor in many feminised industries like aged care and childcare is government funding, so we welcome the government’s commitment to paying for this increase.
“This victory for the government, unions and the community calls into question the need for sweeping changes to Australia’s bargaining laws.
“We want low paid people to earn more and the awards system is the best place to do it.
“What won’t deliver wage increases for Australians is an even more complex bargaining system that opens the door to industrial chaos, strikes and disruption.
“There is a real risk that new multi-employer bargaining streams will leave workers waiting even longer for pay increase while unions and lawyers squabble over who can even be at the table.
“And, we have deep reservations about the impact multi-employer bargaining that risks a lowest common denominator approach to wages.
“We continue to encourage the government to prioritise awards simplification rather than clogging the Fair Work Commission with complex multi-employer bargaining cases.”