The AMWU says the Fair Work Review and the Government’s response must address the industry’s challenges by supporting skills and collaboration, rather than heed calls for a race to the bottom on rights and conditions.
Acting National Secretary, Paul Bastian said that the government’s response to the Fair Work Review must seek to develop high skilled, high wage and high trust workplaces to provide a sustainable and competitive manufacturing industry.
“The public recognises that manufacturing is a critical industry to Australia’s future. But it faces significant challenges from the high Australian dollar, rising global manufacturing capability and a decade of lost productivity growth.
“Industry problems, such as those faced by the manufacturing sector, require industry solutions.
“They require vision from leaders and management, collaboration across businesses and sectors, with science and technology, and between workers, their unions and employers.
“Collective bargaining is the cornerstone to this approach, and it must be broadened from enterprise to industry bargaining.
“We are concerned that the Review, and the government’s response to it, could miss some clear opportunities to genuinely address the issue of productivity.
“You don’t improve productivity by taking away workers’ rights or pitting worker against worker through individual contracts.
“All political parties must stand by an IR system that promotes smart productivity not a race to the bottom on wages and conditions.
“Stronger good faith bargaining provisions and access to an independent umpire to decide disputes or resolve deadlocks for workers are also critical.
“Why should wealthy miners have the right to arbitration for greenfield agreements on their billion dollar projects, when workers at Cochlear, who have been unable to get the company to bargain a new union agreement since 2007, do not?” said Mr Bastian.
A more detailed report on the Fair Work Review will be made available shortly.