Abbott’s IR policy ‘too cautious’, say employers

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Abbott’s IR policy ‘too cautious’, say employers

Employer groups have generally welcomed the Coalition’s new IR policy, but criticised it for being ‘too modest’ and ‘overly cautious’, saying there is more that needs to be done.

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Employer groups have generally welcomed the Coalition’s new IR policy, but criticised it for being ‘too modest’ and ‘overly cautious’, saying there is more that needs to be done.

However, the ACTU said it is an attempt to return individual contracts to the heart of the IR system.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it was ‘largely disappointed’ with the policy.

Peter Anderson, ACCI chief executive, said important and necessary excesses of union power are pared back, but the power of centralised tribunals and one-size-fits-all laws remain.

Serious disappointment

‘It is a serious disappointment to small business that individual workplace agreements would still not be allowed, and that collective bargaining and one size fits all rules would remain the mainstay of the system,’ he said.

‘There’s nothing to suggest a more sensible penalty rate regime, nor does there appear to be any remediation of unfair dismissal laws on the horizon.’

‘Small business should not have to wait for years until the Productivity Commission reviews Fair Work laws to get a fairer deal.

‘On the whole, it’s a policy that’s far too modest.’

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman agreed the policy is ‘too modest’.

‘It’s evident that the new policy will produce some fairer outcomes for employers over time, particularly in the corporate sector, but the policy is too modest and small business will not see the immediate boost in confidence that it needs,’ he said.

Sensible first step

The Housing Industry Association spokesman David Humphrey said it was ‘a sensible first step’.

He said employers in the housing industry had been ‘struggling’ under the burdens of the Fair Work Act, and there was a great deal of ‘confusion, uncertainty and increased costs’ in the modern award system.

He said that in the long term the industry would need more to be done.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) said the policy is ‘only a step in the right direction’.
However, the measures in it would assist resource sector employers on critical issues that are stifling their ability to drive growth and job creation.

The Business Council of Australia said the changes are ‘reasonable, practical improvements’ and address key concerns.
However, they did not address all the issues with the Act.

Overly cautious

Australian Industry Group’s chief executive Innes Willox said the policy introduced some ‘sensible but overly cautious changes’.

However, he said the Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme, funded by a levy on big business, ‘would impose a significant cost burden on employers’.
 
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