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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 Commission of Audit’s minimum wage recommendation shows no understanding of issues facing the low paid. 'No understanding anytime': artist: Richard Tipping, from the Signed Signs series, Brisbane Powerhouse, 2001.

Commission of Audit’s poverty traps for low wage earners

There was nothing in the Commission of Audit’s terms of reference inviting it to make recommendations on the minimum wage. The Commission was asked to produce a report on “government expenditure”. Yet…
The coalition’s industrial relations policy is likely to disappoint small business. AAP

Tony’s timid IR strategy – not much there for small business

Tony Abbott’s industrial relations strategy has received a less than rapturous response from both business and trade unions. The Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group have criticised…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott at the launch of his politically cautious industrial relations policy today in Sydney. AAP/Paul Miller

Abbott announces soft touch workplace policy

Unions' power would be curbed under an Abbott government, with more restrictions put on their right of entry to workplaces and a time limit imposed for concluding “greenfield agreements” for new projects…
Bill Shorten will announce appointments to the Fair Work Commission in an attempt to provide balance as well as legal expertise. AAP/Dave Hunt

Shorten recruits Law Council chief for Fair Work Commission

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten is bringing private sector legal firepower into the Fair Work Commission, including appointing the President of the Law Council of Australia, Joe Catanzariti as…
Employment Minister Bill Shorten says the Fair Work Act review shows the regime doesn’t impact negatively on productivity.

Fair Work Act, productivity and the balancing act between bosses and workers

Perceptions of widespread union militancy in Australia’s industrial relations environment is generally unfounded, according to the University of Melbourne’s Professor of Management, Peter Gahan. Recommendations…
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…
The pressure continues to intensify on embattled MP Craig Thomson. AAP/Lukas Coch

FWA urges civil suit against Thomson: experts respond

Fair Work Australia (FWA) has recommended civil court action be taken against MP and former Health Services Union (HSU) national…
Former Health Services Union head Craig Thomson represents a vital vote for the Gillard government. AAP Image/Penny Bradfield

Health Services Union: why union members deserve better

The ACTU yesterday voted to suspend the Health Servives Union from affiliation until they can prove that issues of governance have been dealt with appropriately. Although it does seem to have been a slow…
Apprenticeships are an integral part of our workforce. AAP

It’s time to overhaul Australia’s apprenticeship scheme

The ACTU is escalating a push through its case with Fair Work Australia to improve the wages of apprentices, many of whom are paid below the poverty line. There is a case for this and it is long overdue…
Interns should be more than just coffe-gophers … shouldn’t they? flickr/happydog

For love not money: interns and the modern workplace

Last week Reuters reported a former intern at Harper’s Bazaar is suing the magazine’s publisher, Hearst Corporation, saying her internship violated US labour laws because it was unpaid. The intern, who…
Australian Service Union branch secretary Sally McManus is showered in streamers after Fair Work Australia awarded community workers a landmark pay rise. AAP

The reality of the gender wage gap

As long as people see the gender wage gap as normal, society has a problem. This view is illustrated in a comment by Jeremy Sammut on a Centre for Independent Studies email newsletter: “Forget that the…
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…
Will arbitration by Fair Work Australia provide the outcome Qantas chief Alan Joyce wants? Not necessarily. AAP

The Qantas dispute: What next and a recap

Memo to the Qantas public relations team: if you mount a Twitter campaign calling for travellers' luxury flying experiences in the middle of an unresolved industrial dispute, be aware there might be a…
After 20 years of enterprise bargaining, are we seeing an unintended return to compulsory arbitration? AAP

First Qantas, now nurses. Has the IR game changed?

With the threat of further industrial action at Qantas looming and Victorian nurses continuing with their rolling work bans, you could be forgiven for thinking that Australia has entered a new phase of…
In debate over the Qantas IR dispute, the truth of the Fair Work Act is the elephant in the room. AAP

Before calling for reform, let’s get our Fair Work facts straight

The drawn-out dispute between Qantas and unions that led to the airline’s entire fleet being grounded over the weekend has sparked calls for reform of Australia’s industrial relations laws. Business leaders…

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