Industry wants further workplace relations changes

The Australian Industry Group has urged the Productivity Commission to go further with workplace relations changes in a number of areas, in addition to those changes proposed in its Draft Report.

Appearing at a public hearing during the Productivity Commission's (PC) Inquiry into Australia's Workplace Relations Framework on Tuesday, Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, supported elements of the PC's Draft Report including reducing Sunday penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries and ending four-yearly award reviews.

However, he also outlined a desire more substantial changes than those proposed in the Draft Report including changes to laws surrounding industrial action and tightening union right of entry to businesses.

In addition, Willox said industry favours “tightening the general protections and implementing additional measures to discourage speculative claims” and “Fixing the transfer of business laws which are operating as a major barrier to business restructuring and outsourcing.”

The hearing also heard from the Australian Services Union and the Textile, Clothing, and Footwear Union of Australia. 

According to an ACTU statement, manufacturing unions claim the Productivity Commission’s recommendations “will pave the way for individual and workplace contracts that slash workers conditions without any negotiation or scrutiny and changes to unfair dismissal laws which remove the right for workers who have been unfairly sacked to be reinstated.”

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said in the statement, “The Abbott Government set up the Productivity Commission inquiry as a platform to cut penalty rates and the minimum wage and swing even more power to the employers – and that’s what they got.”