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Was the Coalition too quick to take up Gerard Henderson’s IR club theme? Dan Himbrechts/AAP

The enduring myth of the industrial relations club

The Abbott government will soon ask the Productivity Commission to review the Fair Work system. In parallel with that review, we need a more sophisticated debate about our workplace relations framework…
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? 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. 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…
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…
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. 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. 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…
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…

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