The federal government is on the verge of launching an overview in place of job regulations and will select an industrial relations professional excluding members of the Productivity Commission to lend a hand in leading the assessment.
Ahead of the election, the federal government promised a ”real and unbiased assessment” of the Fair Work regulations through the commission to reassess their influence on productivity, their economic system and jobs, to be able to increase agility within the work place.
The evaluation comes as Employment Minister Eric Abetz recently announced plans to bring forth new regulations in the upcoming weeks that might enable employees to change prerequisites equivalent to penalty rates in return for extra versatile hours.
According to Fairfax Media, former Australian Chamber of Commerce and Trade chief executive Peter Anderson, a regular critic of Fair Work regulations, had been sounded out sometime last year in an informal forum about participating in the assessment.
Mr Anderson is a former industrial relations attorney who has previously consulted Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Howard government workplace minister Peter Reith, but has been reported to have turned down the chance to assess current industrial relations policy.
However, insiders who have seen the government’s proposed outline reported that one senior candidate from the corporate realm may be on the roster and at the very least, will be an assistant to evaluate the commission.
This further supports the apparent talks on how the government is seeking real industry professionals, rather than academics to lead the review.
As a result, it is believed that such a move to happy wheels draft senior business icons from the private sector will only open the flood gates of criticism from Labor and opposing unions who disagree with such a strategy.
The government has given itself a deadline of early March to draw up terms to be signed off by cabinet.
It may be worth noting that the announcement to review Workplace law came after the government pushed SPC-Ardmona to decrease wages in order to receive government assistance and illustrated the provision of a debt guarantee for Qantas, welcoming the company’s stern position regarding industrial relations.
Criticising Labor’s 2012 assessment of the Fair Work Act, Mr Abbott was reported in saying that the report, “conducted essentially by the department and naturally, the government reviewing the government has decided that the government doesn’t have a problem.” With six reviews already en-route, the commission through the government’s perspective, would need external assistance to ensure the efficacy of the assessment.
Some of the changes comprises an “individual flexibility arrangements”, to the Fair Work Act that was introduced by former workplace relations minister Julia Gillard.
Senator Abetz said that the laws restrict how staff negotiate conditions with their employers and that fixing them, would enable staff “to be able to work hours that suit them and their family-life balance”.
He further added that at the end of the day, it would be the employees who will choose whether such a trade-off of penalty rates in exchange for family time will suit them, rather than employers who typically make that decision.
However, Ged Kearney, ACTU president expressed that the government had ultimately allowed employers the power to slash wages with the false promise of so-called flexibility.