The Governments secure Jobs Bill has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate. ACAPMA has been active in the background as the initial version of the Bill was reshaped by over 150 amendments, following its exposure to wider consultation.
This action has included the provision of informal and formal submissions that will be considered by the Senate inquiry prior to the Bill proceeding to a vote in the Senate. The almost feverish media coverage has led to many ACAPMA members reaching out to ask what it all means for them now and in the future…
“The Bill has passed the House but it is not a law yet, so the short answer to the question of ‘what has changed’ is…nothing yet” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.
“The longer answer is that the Bill, if passed as is, represents some massive and fundamental changes to the employment, and particularly the industrial relations, landscape in Australia in certainly the last couple of decades. And those changes are causing a lot of concern for business operators of all sizes and stripes” notes Elisha.
“The Bill still has to go through the Senate process before it becomes law, and much of the proposed changes, while fundamental and ‘massive’ will not necessarily be felt by all businesses straight away” continues Elisha.
“So what has changed…nothing yet. What is going to change…that is a harder question to answer right now”
“In the short time since the Bills first release and its passage through the House this week there has been a lot of media coverage, a lot of talking heads doing their thing, and a lot of changes made to the initial text of the Bill. The reality is that, while many areas of contention remain, some of the amendments made have softened some of the sharper elements of the Bill there is still much that is subject to active discussion and therefore open to change” explains Elisha.
“Practically speaking ACAPMA members should be preparing to take this opportunity to review their employment instruments in terms of Enterprise Bargaining. Many of our transport members have active EBAs, and given the proposed changes to those agreements that have past their nominal expiry date (zombie agreements) it is time for those who have missed renegotiating their EBA, due to COVID or floods, or fires, or COVID again or floods again….its time for you to get back into the negotiation process” adds Mrs Radwanowski.
“For those businesses that have been toying with the idea of going through an EBA process now is the time to get serious in those considerations”
“The reason for this refocus on EBAs is that the Bill creates an avenue for multi employer bargaining that CAN be FORCED onto businesses. This is an area that has caused huge concern and has been a focus of ACAPMAs advocacy on the basis of the unique nature of our industry. A welcome part of the amendments that passed the House this week includes that businesses that have active, meaning current, EBAs will not be able to be forced into the mutli employer bargaining streams against their will” continued Elisha.
“This was such an important change given the effort and expense of EBA negotiations for most businesses, it was concerning that those with current or ‘in-negotiation’ EBAs could have those suspended and be forced into multi-employer bargaining that may not match the businesses unique situation, structure or operational requirements. So members are encouraged to review their approach and if an EBA is in their mix, or is on their horizon to reach out to discuss how ACAPMA can assist”
“One of the key benefits of ACAPMA Membership is access to industry and HR/IR experts. We have guided and represented many members through the EBA process and will continue to be available to members as this new bargaining landscape develops” added Elisha.
“The bottom line is this, the Bill is not law yet and so its final form is not yet known. What is known is that bargaining is changing and now is the time for businesses to consider their approach. What is also known is that ACAPMA is here, working with the lawmakers on ensuring the system is as practical and sensible as possible, and working with members to ensure they can navigate the new and emerging landscape” concluded Elisha..
Here to Help
This article is general in nature and covers things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. It is provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation. ACAPMA Employment Professionals are available to assist ACAPMA members via email@example.com. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $810inc GST per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts. Visit: https://acapma.com.au/membership/ to learn more or to apply for ACAPMA membership.
Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM & IR)
Executive Manager for Employment and Training