EDITORIAL: award modernisation, curse or cure?

By: Chris Smith


The most serious implication of award modernisation is condensing each jurisdictional award into a national award. The obvious question is…can

The most serious implication of award modernisation is condensing each jurisdictional award into a national award. The obvious question is…can this be done?

At some point the states and feds will have to forgo ego and rely on an independent full bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) to do their jobs and come up with modern, equitable conditions which suites the workforce and societal changes.

It seems like everyone is on the same page in relation to award modernisation as far as groups wanting an overhaul of the awards.

It boils down to the recurring theme of a fair days pay for a fair days work.

Only, the idea of what is fair is distorted if you are an employer or and employee and if there is an oversupply or skills shortage in a particular occupation.

In the last Australasian Bus+Coach there are data tables which show the differences in conditions and work hour spreads from state to state.

It is interesting to note how much difference in pay drivers take home as a base salary.

On the other side of the equation is a variance in minimum hours of work. Some state have four hours, others as a low as one hour.

If one hour suites the employee, employer and the particular route then why would an employer want to move to two, three, or four hours minimum for a shift?

The biggest boom states often have the lowest pay scales. In a competitive workforce common sense would dictate if you are finding it hard to find quality workers you do something different, listen to the needs of the workers and somehow fit those conditions into a workable employment contract.

For award modernisation to be a success all stakeholders must be represented including employees, employers and the government’s different enforcement, legislative and OHS arms.

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