Australia debates merits of enterprise bargaining

Unions and the Business Council of Australia argue that this will result in employees being paid more in wages.
By: | August 30, 2022

Ahead of a jobs summit to be held in Canberra, Sally McManus, Chief Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), made a pitch for the government to allow industry-wide bargaining, which would allow multiple workplaces to make an agreement together. 

While the business council has pushed back against parts of that proposal, its chief executive Jennifer Westacott said she was keen to see industry and unions agree on changes to enterprise bargaining, including to the better-off-overall test, to make the system less complex for employers and ensure workers were paid more.

Westacott said she was “on a unity ticket” with McManus on wanting to see higher wages, and said the data showed enterprise agreements were the best way to achieve that. 

“When done well, when you look at the data and averages on wages, people on enterprise agreements get substantially more money,” Westacott said. 

Westacott said she and McManus were seeking to revive key principles of an abandoned recent agreement between the two organisations on industrial relations reform, including changing the better off overall test. 

READ:  Australia urged to crap tax cuts for wealthiest earners

“The principles that Sally and I negotiated a couple of years ago are basically the ones that we should take forward. Don’t get rid of the better-off-overall test, make it better, make it about better-off-overall, not better off in every single circumstance,” she said, according to The Guardian.