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Workplace relations reform: it’s not as if we haven’t been here before. Alan Porritt/AAP

History of IR reviews shows re-run reform agenda is pure politics

When the federal government asked the Productivity Commission (PC) to conduct a review into certain aspects of workplace laws, it argued a “root and branch” inquiry was urgently needed. As everyone gears…
Choosing the Productivity Commission to review industrial relations could prove politically embarrassing for both Workplace Relations Minister Eric Abetz and Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Paul Miller/AAP

The PC review that could bring the government unstuck

Australia’s federal government has made a major political error, possibly terminal, in asking the Productivity Commission (PC) to inquire into industrial relations. Before the 2013 election, the strategy…
We still know very little about the link between industrial relations and productivity. Flazingo Photos/Flickr

Workplace reform discussion could leave big questions hanging

The Productivity Commission’s five issues papers, released yesterday, are the latest step in the government’s inquiry into the link between industrial relations (IR) legislation and productivity. Despite…
The Productivity Commission has attempted to move beyond the WorkChoices rhetoric. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Workplace inquiry attempts to move beyond WorkChoices

The release of the Productivity Commission’s five issues papers on Australia’s workplace relations framework has already fanned inevitable claims from the federal opposition and unions that it will pave…
Australia’s agricultural sector stands to gain from recent Asian free trade deals, but where will it leave workers? Dan Peled/AAP

Free trade agreements driving labour market reform by stealth

The Coalition government has assured the Australian electorate it will not proceed with any major industrial relations reforms until it has secured a mandate to do so. But this has not stopped the government…
Retail frenzy is a familiar feature of the festive season – but what about all the casual workers who labour through it? AAP Image/NEWZULU/PAUL THOMPSON

The paradox of work over the festive season

Yet the workers’ rights cannot be doomed to be the mere result of economic systems aimed at the maximisation of profits. Pope John Paul II, On Human Work, 1981. Written more than 20 years ago, the above…
A key feature of casual employment is the lack of leave entitlements – including holiday pay. Craig Sunter (Thanx a Million !)

We’re all going on a summer holiday – well, some of us …

The idea of the “summer break” is part of the Australian psyche. But as you hurtle towards the holidays, with the thought of a well-earned rest sustaining you through the frenzy of end-of-year deadlines…
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…
Like it or not, working on a Sunday is not the same as working on a Tuesday. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Before you call for penalty rates to be cut, try working a few Sundays

Not for the first time this year, Workplace Minister Eric Abetz has been forced to calm the rumblings after another government minister weighed in on penalty rates, and why they should be cut. Changes…
Workers with skills and motivation perform at a higher level, regardless of workplace reform. Salle-Ann/Flickr

Workplace deregulation won’t boost productivity

Arguments for reform of workplace relations never go away. The central claim made by numerous commentators is that reform aimed at “freeing up” the labour market and workplaces is the key to improving…
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…
The CFMEU says corruption within the building industry should be referred to the police for prosecution, but the government is looking to a revived ABCC. Julian Smith/AAP

Bikies, unions … and the ABCC? Spinning the policing of work

Recent investigations into the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) by the ABC and Fairfax have revealed relationships between rogue union officials, underworld figures and outlaw motorcycle…
Toyota is the ‘last man standing’ in Australian car manufacturing, but it needs to shift from an ‘us and them’ approach to industrial relations. Alan Porritt/AAP

Toyota needs a new approach to avoid the road to nowhere

The Productivity Commission will today release the preliminary report of its inquiry into Australian automotive manufacturing industries, ensuring the future of car manufacturing in Australia continues…
Nearly strike o'clock. Steve Parsons/PA

Both Boris and unions are wrong on tube strikes

London’s tube users face disruption in the New Year as the unions threaten strike action. Debate on the subject is as heated as ever, with both sides racing for the moral high ground. But, though London…
The Falkirk juggernaut rumbles on. David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Falkirk saga plays right into Cameron’s hands

After the controversies of the past few weeks, the coalition government has launched a review of trade union tactics, to be led by Bruce Carr QC. The issue of union activities and the relationship between…
Treasurer Joe Hockey admits the government’s ‘open for business’ promise must be followed up with action. Alan Porritt/AAP

Abbott’s ‘open for business’ honeymoon is over

From a three-and-a-half year high last month, business confidence data for October shows the post-election honeymoon is over, with business conditions continuing to underperform in non-mining sectors…
Wage bargaining conditions may well change under a coalition government. AAP

What do new disclosures reveal about Coalition IR policy?

Two unexpected disclosures have refocused attention on the Coalition industrial relations policy before the election. The first was further detail from workplace relations shadow minister Eric Abetz about…

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