Collective bargaining OK for employers, says Govt

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Collective bargaining OK for employers, says Govt

The Federal Government is encouraging the use of collective bargaining among employers, while it insists on individual contracts for employees.

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The Federal Government is encouraging the use of collective bargaining among employers, while it insists on individual contracts for employees.

An advertisement on page five of today's Sydney Morning Herald, under the headline 'Collective Bargaining — making it easier to do business', urges small businesses to join together to negotiate with a larger business.

The Government has outlawed the use of pattern bargaining across an industry by unions and has ruled that even if more than 50% of employees at an enterprise vote in favour of collective bargaining, the employer does not have to agree to it. It also allows employers to present employees with identical 'pattern bargaining' style AWAs, even though it claims that a major benefit of individual contracts is that they allow for flexibility reflecting the needs of employees and employers.

One size fits all

However, the Government is phasing out the use of awards because it says they impose a 'one size fits all' system on employers and employees.

In the ad the Government says: 'Collective bargaining enables businesses of all sizes to work together co-operatively. Small businesses can benefit by joining together to negotiate with a larger business, who (sic) is their common customer or supplier.

'Larger business can find it more efficient to negotiate directly with a group of small businesses rather than each small business individually.'

Approval from ACCC

However the ad warns that businesses which want to bargain collectively must first get approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ad was placed by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.

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