A leading labour economist has questioned whether the Federal Government’s WorkChoices has continued to lead to an increased uptake of AWAs after the introduction of the fairness test in May.
Mark Wooden, the deputy director of the Melbourne Institute told The Australian Financial Review that the Liberals have effectively got rid of AWAs by adding the fairness test – “… after the fairness test came in there’s not much in it for most employers to push for more AWAs, and the prediction is that most employers won’t bother”.
His comments follow Australian Business Lawyers managing partner Tim Capelin, who provides IR legal services to businesses across a range of businesses and sizes, comments to SmartCompany.com.au on Monday that the increased red tape the fairness test brought to the process of moving to AWAs and the prospect of a Labor victory was shifting employers toward collective agreements.
But not all employers agree. In the restaurant and catering sector, businesses are accelerating their uptake of AWAs in an attempt to lock-in the benefits they confer for as long as possible, according to Restaurant & Catering Australia chief executive John Hart.
Hart told SmartCompany the five year transition period under a Labor government would mean there are still substantial gains to be made from moving on to AWAs, even if they are due to eventually be phased out.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see the modeling research the Government commissioned into WorkChoices that looks at increasing the coverage of AWAs and the consequences of reversing some of its reforms?
Oh, that’s right, we can’t. Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey has refused to release it before the election because Australians are “all researched out”.