Employers take stand behind flexible workplace relations

Peak industrial employer group, the Ai Group is taking a strong stand behind today’s flexible workplace laws and against proposals for a new ‘living wage’for low-paid workers.

In a series of policy papers just released Ai Group chief executive, Innes Willox argues for the status quo on workplace relations and the role of the independent umpire in setting the minimum wage.

In Ai Group’s workplace relations report, Willox said: “The flexibilities in Australia’s current workplace relations system, compared with the previous highly centralised arrangements, have been pivotal to Australia’s economic and social success.

“…Australia’s current workplace relations system operates on some key principles which have served the nation very well and must not be diluted.”

Principles included enterprise level agreements, a safety net of awards, an independent industrial umpire and strong and effective regulators such as the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Willox said: “The ACTU’s demands for industry bargaining must not be entertained.

“The idea of giving unions the right to take lawful industrial action across entire industries, as the ACTU wants, is so obviously against the national interest that all political parties need to come out and decisively reject the idea.”

In a policy statement Ai Group also criticises an ALP’s plan to make the minimum wage a ‘living wage’.

The opposition has not yet detailed its plans, but it has flagged changes in the rules used by the Fair Work Commission to set the minimum wage.

Willox said said the policy would have perverse impacts, including on wage relativities between unskilled workers and lower classifications of roles such as electrician and fitter.

“The policy should be taken back to the drawing board,” he said.

Picture: Ai Group/Innes Willox

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