The second round of changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 proposed by Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, will further compound limitations on employers to be able to structure their workplace to suit the business and their employees, according to Master Builders Australia CEO, Wilhelm Harnisch.
Harnisch says the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 will do ‘nothing’ to enhance workplace productivity, or an employer's ability to restructure their business in response to changing economic conditions.
"The Bill is a clear case of pandering to the unions. For instance, the Bill gives unions the ability to use an employer's lunchroom to hold meetings. This is an unacceptable prospect for employers and for 82% of Australian workers who are not members of a trade union.”
He says union meetings and activities shouldn’t be ‘forced upon’ non-union workers trying to enjoy their meal breaks.
"The Bill also includes provisions which require employers to pay for permit holders' travel and accommodation to remote sites. This is an additional and unwarranted cost forced on employers, who are already facing difficult trading conditions.”
However, Harnisch says, the addition to allow the Fair Work Commission to deal with disputes regarding the frequency of union visits to worksites for discussion purposes is to be commended.
"The government's proposed reforms are not balanced; they work against the viability of business and strengthen the role of unions. The government should be supporting business, as they are the ones who invest and create jobs.”