WorkChoices system not ‘Stalinist’ says employer group

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WorkChoices system not ‘Stalinist’ says employer group

A leading business organisation has denied the new WorkChoices legislation is centralist, despite the ACTU and the extremely conservative H.R. Nicholls Society labelling it as ‘Stalinist’.

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A leading business organisation has denied the new WorkChoices legislation is centralist, despite the ACTU and the extremely conservative H.R. Nicholls Society labelling it as ‘Stalinist’.

‘It is ironic that the final scare of the unions scare campaign is that somehow power will be centralised under WorkChoices’ said Minna Knight, Senior Workplace Relations Adviser for ABL/State Chamber.

ACTU secretary Greg Combet said last week that the new laws gave the Government ‘Kremlin-like’ control and scrutiny. And H.R. Nicholls Society president Ray Evans yesterday found common ground with the union movement.

Differing views

Evans told the ABC’s Inside Business program: ‘It’s rather like going back to the old Soviet system of command and control, where every economic decision has to go to some central authority and get ticked off.’

Knight disagreed saying WorkChoices will give more power to workplaces and employees to ‘determine what’s best for them and that is what scares the trade union movement’.

‘By offering greater flexibility in agreement making we will see a rise in productivity and as importantly, allow employees better opportunity to negotiate outcomes that suit their lives and lifestyle,’ she said.

‘Over the coming weeks and months, we are going to see the union fear campaign about WorkChoices totally disproved.

‘I believe the trade unions will simply never be believable again. The sky will not fall in - and Australian workplaces will enjoy greater productivity and prosperity.

‘The ultimate outcome will be greater workforce participation – and this will be in a time of an emerging skills crisis.

‘For almost every workplace tomorrow, it will be a case of business as usual. Employers and employees will use the opportunities available from WorkChoices to improve national productivity and create more jobs.’

ACCI welcomes new legislation

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) also welcomed the start of WorkChoices as ‘Day One of an historic step forward for Australia’.

‘While there will undoubtedly be some teething problems, as there is with any major policy change, we believe that WorkChoices will kick-start another round of productivity growth and are confident that Australia will experience lower unemployment and stronger real wage growth than would otherwise have been the case,’ said Peter Hendy, ACCI Chief Executive.

‘For the first time, the overwhelming majority of Australian employers and employees will gain access to a truly national system of employment regulation.

‘With the implementation of WorkChoices they will no longer be swapping backwards and forwards through a complicated web of state and federal industrial obligations that evolved over the 20th century based on a 100 year old arbitration system.

‘Now that it has become law, it is time for all stakeholders to responsibly look at the new capacities and flexibilities that WorkChoices offers and pay close attention to the details of the legislation and the accompanying regulations.’

AiG - reforms appropriate

Heather Ridout, Chief Executive of Australian Industry Group, said the reforms are ‘aligned with the needs of Australia’s globally engaged economy and its diverse, educated workforce’.

‘With around 1000 pages of legislation and a further 400 pages of regulations industry has been presented with a substantial implementation task.’

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