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Analysis and Comment (11)

The ‘brittle’ side of industrial relations: CFMEU members in dispute with their employer, Energy Australia. The ‘brittle’ side of industrial relations: CFMEU members in dispute with their employer, Energy Australia. Julian Smith/AAPImage

Enterprise bargaining no great problem, but no panacea either

Over the course of the last few months, industrial relations has once again become a major issue on the national political agenda. Allegations of union corruption, uncompetitive wage deals, inflexible…
Flexible work practices: for employees or employers? Flexible work practices: for employees or employers? Tracey Nearmy/AAPImage

Workplace ‘flexibility’ on insecure ground

If you were to choose one buzzword that, despite its vagueness, has dominated industrial relations debate over three decades, it would be “flexibility”. It has emerged again in rhetoric surrounding Toyota’s…
Calls by AWU chief Paul Howes for a “grand compact” are fanciful, but he’s right we need to shift our thinking away from a focus on yet another round of IR reform. Calls by AWU chief Paul Howes for a “grand compact” are fanciful, but he’s right we need to shift our thinking away from a focus on yet another round of IR reform. AAP

Howls of horror understandable, but Howes half right about IR reform

It is easy to see why media coverage of Paul Howes’ National Press Club address has focused on his claims that wage growth has been too high in some areas and that the adversarial industrial relations…
Penalties for unlawful picketing will increase under a planned new ABCC. Penalties for unlawful picketing will increase under a planned new ABCC. David Crosling/AAP

Fair work or more productivity? Revived ABCC will deliver neither

The Abbott Government is this year preparing to revive the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) after it was renamed and stripped of many of its powers by the Gillard Government in 2012…
Victims of domestic violence can suffer at work as well as at home. Victims of domestic violence can suffer at work as well as at home. AAP/Angela Brkic

Domestic violence now at home in the Fair Work Act

As global attention has focused this week on the issue of violence against women via the One Billion Rising movement, Australia is at the forefront of a wholly new approach to dealing with the impacts…
Workplace relations minister Bill Shorten has largely supported the recommendations made by the House of Representatives inquiry into workplace bullying. Workplace relations minister Bill Shorten has largely supported the recommendations made by the House of Representatives inquiry into workplace bullying. AAP

Prevention, resolution and recourse: responses to the workplace bullying inquiry

The federal government’s response to the House of Representatives inquiry into workplace bullying is a welcome development in preventing this workplace hazard. 19 of the 23 recommendations were supported…
Are penalty rates becoming old fashioned? Are penalty rates becoming old fashioned? Retail image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Penalty rates in awards: do we really need them?

There have been renewed calls from employers - mainly in the retail sector - for reductions in the wage premiums (or penalty rates) that industries are required to pay staff for work undertaken at non-standard…
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has ruled out making any sweeping changes to the Fair Work Act. Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has ruled out making any sweeping changes to the Fair Work Act. AAP

Fair Work Act review: weighing up the evidence, the spin and the wedge

The post implementation review of the Fair Work Act, 2009, was released this afternoon. A three member panel – Professor Ron McCallum, Dr John Edwards and Michael Moore – produced the three hundred–odd…
If the government is serious about maintaining its economic prosperity into the future, it needs to address Australia’s historically poor productivity growth. If the government is serious about maintaining its economic prosperity into the future, it needs to address Australia’s historically poor productivity growth. Ann Douglas

Australia’s productivity problem: why it matters

The majority of Australians would prefer higher living standards. This can take the form of better access to better healthcare services and education, better environmental outcomes, more time for friends…
Strong past productivity performance is not the best indicator of current performance. Strong past productivity performance is not the best indicator of current performance. AAP

Reform of Fair Work Act must start with a true picture of labour law and productivity

As the Commissioners of the Fair Work Act Review work their way through the mountain of submissions, one of the most critical aspects they will be called on to consider is the relationship between labour…
International examples show that quicker access to arbitration could have avoided the drastic action taken by Qantas chief Alan Joyce. International examples show that quicker access to arbitration could have avoided the drastic action taken by Qantas chief Alan Joyce. AAP

Qantas case shows the need for interest arbitration

As the Qantas dispute moves into the arbitration phase in Fair Work Australia (FWA), it is timely to consider whether the tests for access to arbitration under the Fair Work Act need refining. Prompted…