I have a new piece at Guardian Australia, responding to Peter Reith’s claim that the rise in unemployment is due to the Fair Work Act.
Imagine we had an IR system like they have in the UK or New Zealand. No awards, but one minimum wage and basic rights like annual, sick and maternity leave, unfair dismissal protection, the right to organise etc
Would we then impose 122 incredibly complex and overprescriptive awards regulating pay and condition in extreme detail on every single worker in every sing business across the country, including in each award 5 to 10 minimum wages, overtime, night, saturday, sunday, public holiday and shift penalties, leave loading and regulation over hours and rostering?
Would you recommend the US or the UK adopt such a system? Or how about Greece or Spain? If the fair work act doesn’t damage productivity or cost jobs then why not?
Inevitably the productivity commission will recommend that we abolish awards, which are just an archaic relic from the protectionist era. New Zealand did that 20 years ago, and in the most recent election Labour wanted to bring them back in a watered down version. They were widely criticized and lost by a landslide.
My comment on your article would be that unemployment is low and productivity is OK despite the fair work act, but both would be better without it.
By that logic, would the recent award modernisation have improved labour outcomes?
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