Home Business Multi-employer bargaining: COSBOA withdraws support

Multi-employer bargaining: COSBOA withdraws support

Multi-employer bargaining: COSBOA withdraws support


The other signatories to the statement are the BCA, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group, the Minerals Council of Australia and the National Farmers Federation.

COSBOA came under strong criticism from the other groups for its actions at the Jobs and Skills Summit. Its advocacy for multi-employer bargaining also caused internal ructions, leading to threats to establish a breakaway small business lobby.

Its decision to join the other groups in opposing the multi-employer bargaining proposals is a setback to the government, which has often cited COSBOA’s support in its defence.

The government will use its numbers to pass the legislation through the House of Representatives on Thursday with the aim of having it through the Senate by July 1.

The government is, however, considering extending the Senate sitting schedule if necessary.

The Greens all but confirmed on Wednesday they would pass the legislation subject to some technical amendments they refused to detail, which means it will all come down to either David Pocock or Jacqui Lambie.

“The bill, as currently framed, should not be passed by parliament,” the business groups said in their statement.

“We jointly call on the government to permit time for a thorough consideration of the content and implications of the bill.

“This deeper consideration should include removing the provisions to allow widespread use of multi-employer bargaining backed by strike action.”

As well as protected strike action, the groups feel the bill “unjustifiably expands the scope for multi-employer bargaining” beyond low-paid sectors at which it is supposedly aimed; fails to articulate clear parameters around where multi-employer bargaining would be available; and undermines enterprising bargaining that has delivered many significant benefits to Australia over several decades and currently operates effectively in many sectors.

“The currently proposed framework for arbitrating bargaining disputes also risks unreasonably subjecting broad sectors of the economy, and community, to the centralised setting of terms and conditions over and above the comprehensive system of modern awards already in place,” they said.

The groups, many of which met Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday and will accompany him to the G20 in Bali next week, issued the statement just after Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke defended the level of consultation so far.

“It is the most consultative process that has happened for a decade,” he said.

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