The Productivity Commission has released its final report into workplace relations. If you read the Commission’s draft report (August 2015) then you know that it is no fan of workers or their unions.
The report discusses cutting penalty rates, constraining minimum wage increases and ensuring employers do not have to pay for leave for newly designated public holidays. On bargaining the report proposes replacing the ‘better off overall test’ with a no-disadvantage test and changes to labour flexibility with a new type of ‘enterprise contract’ that could be offered to prospective employees. No ballot would be required for the enterprise contract nor would unions be involved in its preparation.
Much can be read into this report. In particular the Coalition’s agenda that wage increases, limited use of individual flexibility arrangements and the role of unions are bad for companies.
It is such a tired argument that unions had their place in the past. Receiving a better wage is a benefit of unionism but what about on the job safety, better training, being treated with respect by your employer, the list goes on. Unions may not be good for business but they are good for workers.
The report is expected to be a starting point for the Coalition's workplace relations’ policy for the next election.