26/06/2007 - 22:00

Chaney critical of unions' IR stance

26/06/2007 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Business Council of Australia president and incoming Woodside Petroleum Ltd chairman, Michael Chaney, has again warned that winding back the federal government’s workplace reforms would lead to higher unemployment and lower productivity.

Chaney critical of unions' IR stance

Business Council of Australia president and incoming Woodside Petroleum Ltd chairman, Michael Chaney, has again warned that winding back the federal government’s workplace reforms would lead to higher unemployment and lower productivity.

Speaking at a John Curtin Institute of Public Policy breakfast, Mr Chaney outlined the country’s progress on industrial relations, with the country’s move to negotiated individual agreements resulting in increased productivity, higher wages and record low unemployment rates.

Abolishing Australian workplace agreements and returning to a collective bargaining system would be detrimental to job creation, he told the breakfast forum.

Mr Chaney also believes that re-introducing unfair dismissal regulation would make employers less likely to put on full-time employees.

“It is my view that this policy would have a serious effect on productivity,” he said.

Mr Chaney labelled the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ Work Choices advertising campaign “scandalous”, and reaffirmed the business community’s intention to launch its own campaign to counter the union’s claims.

The Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Minerals Council of Australia have all reportedly joined forces for the advertising campaign.

“There’s a huge misunderstanding of Work Choices in Australia. It’s not revolutionary reform, but a logical step forward from enterprise agreements,” he said.

As the baby boomer generation left the workforce, the lack of available labour would become a major concern, Mr Chaney said.

The labour shortage was forcing employers to look at innovative ways of attracting and retaining quality staff and ensuring employees were motivated and happy, for the business to remain productive.

“Disadvantaging employees in any way is to an employer’s short-term and long-term detriment,” Mr Chaney said. “The stronger position will be held by employees, going forward.”

Mr Chaney said the microeconomic reforms in the area of IR by the Howard government, and to some extent the Keating government, had resulted in the lowest level of industrial disputes since 1913, an increase in real wages by 20 per cent since 1996, and an increase in full-time employment.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options