Resource employers launch 2017 campaign for workplace relations reform

Australia’s resource employers have launched a 2017 workplace relations campaign focusing on ‘Five Urgent Reforms’, and is first calling on the Turnbull Government to take action on Labor’s excessive and costly union workplace entry laws.

“AMMA’s members across the national resource industry are deeply concerned that our parliament appears unable or unwilling to address fundamental problems in our workplace relations system,” Steve Knott, chief executive of AMMA, said.

“Reform priorities identified in 2016 by more than 100 leading resource companies – a highly representative cross section of an industry directly and indirectly employing around 1.1 million Australians – are yet to be acted upon or even debated.

“This is despite many of these reforms lining up with changes recommended by the Productivity Commission, and Australia’s deteriorating economic and employment conditions highlighting the urgent need for political action.”

The five reform priorities identified by AMMA’s members and forming its 2017 campaign are:
1. Restore balance to union workplace entry laws;
2. Focus enterprise bargaining on employment matters;
3. Expand agreement making options for employers and employees;
4. Return to balanced termination of service laws, where a valid reason exists; and
5. Replace the Fair Work Commission with modern, balanced institutions.

On the first priority, AMMA has released an animated video and written to key senators and members of parliament, highlighting the absurd costs, delays, productivity impacts and safety issues associated with the thousands of site entry requests resource employers now receive each year.

“When Labor’s Fair Work Act gave union officials and recruiters almost unlimited rights to enter worksites, the number of visits sky-rocketed to thousands. One project received 17 visits in just 24 hours, while another received more than 300 in 90 days,” Mr Knott said.

“We are even seeing union recruiters target employees in their lunchrooms and resource employers expected to cop the costs and disruptions associated with union visits to remote projects.

“The resource sector needs the government to take action and address these well-documented concerns. Our 2017 campaign will build public awareness by simplifying the practical impacts our unbalanced, prehistoric workplace relations system has on Australian employers every day.

“KPMG research indicated that if these five priorities were addressed, the benefits through the resources sector alone would be a $30.9 billion boost to national GDP and 36,000 additional jobs.

“Our nation can no longer afford to send these jobs and economic benefits overseas. It’s time to get the balance right in our workplace regulation.”


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