BCA Backs IR Reforms

The Business Council of Australia today called on the federal Opposition to “think again” before discarding individual workplace agreements in favour of common law agreements.

The Executive Director of the BCA, Mr David Buckingham, said industrial relations reform had contributed to Australia’s economic and social performance, and there was a need to proceed “full steam ahead.”

“Clearly the reform agenda is contributing to workplace outcomes which are of benefit to our nation, business and directly and indirectly to the wellbeing of ordinary Australians. They should not be allowed to stall or be wound back because of party political considerations or vested interests,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Australia’s economic performance and competitiveness should not again become subject to the industrial relations handbrake.”

At the same time, Mr Buckingham urged the Democrats to hold their line in support of pattern bargaining legislation that would prevent industrial action being imposed over the top of individual or collective bargaining at the enterprise level.

“This type of uniform industry-wide industrial activity, irrespective of the productivity and capacity of each individual enterprise, has been a blight on Australia’s successful move to enterprise bargaining in recent years,” he said.

“Enterprise bargaining should be about higher real incomes and more satisfying and secure employment arrangements and it should also be about making enterprises more competitive and productive. We cannot afford to revert to the law of the jungle, nor should we be turning back the clock to outdated, centrally-imposed industrial outcomes.

“Irresponsible incidents of widespread, co-ordinated industrial action have been threatening employment opportunities and adversely affecting investor confidence, particularly in Victoria.

“The country’s economic success depends directly on the competitiveness and productivity of the nation’s individual enterprises. If successful, the archaic confrontation approach taken with disruptive pattern bargaining has the potential to undermine the very real progress of recent years.”