Parts of my fourth research study into the operation of the Fair Work Act in the mining industry were released on the Weekend. From The Australian (login required):
MINING companies say the Fair Work Act has dramatically complicated agreement-making.
Some 63 per cent say it takes longer to strike deals under the Gillard government’s workplace laws.
As the industry urges an overhaul of the laws in the upcoming review of the act, it has released new findings from a three-year longitudinal study on their impact on the mining sector.
An analysis by RMIT University researcher Steven Kates found that about two-thirds of resource industry employers reported having to negotiate with more parties since the laws came into effect as unions engage in turf wars for members.
About 28 per cent complained of having to deal with the flow-on effects of lucrative oil and gas sector deals.
Only a union official would find any of this far greater difficulty in reaching agreement a move in the right direction:
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union said the time taken to strike deals had risen under the Fair Work Act because employers could no longer hand workers non-negotiable statutory individual contracts, the Australian Workplace Agreements set up by the Howard government.
‘If their complaint is that Work Choices has been abolished, then that complaint is correct,’ CFMEU assistant secretary Dave Noonan said. ‘And what that means is workers are able to be represented by a union in a collective agreement.’
He said many employers in the sector were now dealing with unions for the first time, because there was previously no requirement to do so. ‘They were able to force workers to accept an AWA if they wanted the job,’ he said.
Anyone who thinks giving unions more power will make working people better off has no idea of what will really make working people better off.