One of the regularly highlighted weaknesses of the Fair Work Act 2009 is the trade unions ability to impose work bans for indefinite periods in pursuit of unsustainable improvements to wages and conditions, without the necessity for any productivity improvements being offered to the employer as an offset.
Unions bargaining around the country continue to reject acceptable wages increases averaging 3-4%. This has been an acceptable and sustainable percentage wage increase across a number of industries for some time, which in most cases included specific productivity and safety compliance measures being agreed too to offset the increases.
Qld State Government Departments, and Government Owned Corporations, are all restricted during bargaining by the Governments Wages Policy. Currently the wages policy sits at 2.5% base increase, with a further 1.5% available through agreed productivity improvements and indirect benefits.
So should industry and employers such as Patricks, BHP and Rio Tinto be governed by the same policy? My answer would be why not. Such companies in key economic industries are vital to the continuing prosperity of our economy. To have improvements in wages and conditions imposed on them by a third party, in my opinion, goes against the core principles of Good Faith Bargaining.
To truly bargain in good faith is for both parties to explore not only the reasons why the claim should be agreed too, but the reasons why it can't.
The evidence has been clear for several months that a wages blowout, pattern bargaining and a return to the dark days of high wages and no productivity gains is gathering pace.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard insists that the "Fair Work System is there to stay", so my question is, where has the Good Faith gone?
Add a Comment