Pressure to review Fair Work Act builds

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Pressure to review Fair Work Act builds

Following the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for massive changes to the industrial relations laws applying to the retail sector, the Federal Opposition and some industry groups have joined in the call for a review of the federal legislation.

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Following the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for massive changes to the industrial relations laws applying to the retail sector, the Federal Opposition and some industry groups have joined in the call for a review of the federal legislation.

The Productivity Commission recommended a complete deregulation of retail shopping hours saying that current industrial relations practices were constraining flexibility and adding to costs.

Review of Fair Work Act needed now’: Opposition
 
Eric Abetz, Federal Opposition IR shadow, said that the Productivity Commission’s strong and considered findings on the impact of Labor’s Fair Work Act 2009 stifling jobs and customer service in the retail sector has given an official imprimatur to the plight of this jobs rich sector.

‘I have heard from the retail sector all around Australia and their anecdotal evidence is now mirrored by the Productivity Commission.’

‘But it’s not only the ailing retail sector. Tourism and other small business-rich sectors of our economy are hurting and hurting bad.’

‘Labor can continue to claim all is well with their new regime. The simple fact is a lot is not well and the promises on productivity and flexibility made by Ms Gillard have simply not been met.’

‘Labor committed itself to a full review as of next year. That is too late.’

‘A review should start now and be finalised by the end of the year.’

‘The review above all needs to look at the stifling and inappropriate nature of some of Labor’s new regime.’

‘Just this week I heard from a business which was forced to provide pay rises beyond its capacity. As a result, jobs were lost. The workforce was shattered — their pay increases had cost other blokes their jobs.’

Small business supports review
 
The Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) supports the call by the shadow minister.

The Act is not functioning well and needs a review as soon as possible. Peter Strong, executive director of COSBOA, said :
‘We support the need for an early review of the Fair Work Act. The current system is costing jobs, is confusing and causing mistakes to be made and is certainly not friendly to small business people or their employees.’
Retailers too . . .
 
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said it was calling for the review of the Fair Work Act scheduled for 2012 to start as soon as possible, after the Productivity Commission Report found that rigid workplace laws were driving up retailers’ costs.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the retail industry is under immense pressure with slow and declining trade and there is an immediate need for a review of current employer obligations that are stifling productivity in the workplace:
‘As retail is Australia’s largest employer, we are pleased that the PC report handed down yesterday recognised the disincentive retailers have to retain low-skilled staff under the current Fair Work Act.’

 
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