Fair Work system ‘unfair’ to small business: ACCI

News

Fair Work system ‘unfair’ to small business: ACCI

Small and medium employers have been let down by the Fair Work IR system and don’t believe a ‘fair contract’ exists between them and the system, according to a major employer organisation.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Small and medium employers (SMEs) have been let down by the Fair Work IR system and don’t believe a ‘fair contract’ exists between them and the system, according to a major employer organisation.

Peter Anderson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in an address to the National Press Club said he sensed a ‘simmering frustration’ when he spoke to SMEs around the country.

‘These small business people don’t believe a fair contract exists between them and the system,’ he said.
 
‘They have put it all on the line — the house, the family, the holidays — in the name of risk, hoping for reward.’

Anderson said the Rudd Government had promised the fair work laws would simplify the industrial award system but that this reorganisation of regulation ‘would not increase employer labour costs’.

Broken promise
 
‘It’s a promise that could never be kept, should never have been made, and is a promise broken,’ he said.

‘Penalty rates are up leading to some smaller businesses not opening evenings, Sundays or public holidays or family members working even more hours at these times.’

‘This is just one area where the government has not got the balance right in its IR laws.’
 
‘Appointments to tribunals have been unbalanced. Unions have boasted of wage agreements being achieved without productivity or efficiency trade-offs. Individual flexibility agreements have been neutered.’
 
‘The integrity of the statutory scheme has been compromised by decisions that extend the right to strike in ways the government had ruled out.’
 
Not delivering
 
‘The system is not delivering the productivity and efficiency kick that was promised.’

‘If this is allowed to continue by either the government or the Opposition the fair work system will be a slow burn on the economy.’

Anderson said SMEs are also not in a position to pay an increase in the superannuation guarantee from 9% to 12%.

‘I fear this is an issue that will light a fuse under small business owners, and turn frustration into anger,’ he said.

‘It’s not that these business people decry a good retirement income for their staff. They don’t. But it is a fundamental issue of equity that will fire them up.’
 
‘Most small business people don’t have the capacity to squirrel away 9% let alone 12% of earnings each year for their own superannuation.’
 
Super burden
 
‘Not only do they take the risk to employ others, but they carry the burden of funding retirement incomes and taking pension pressure off future government budgets. Yet no-one in government is even talking about their retirement.’

Anderson said the government should not proceed with the 9% to 12% levy increase until two conditions are met:
  • a workable and fair funding base is found for the promise
  • a workable and fair approach is developed to support the retirement incomes of small and medium business people.

 

Post details