Prepare and submit a written analysis of amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009’s
For this task, assume you are a workplace relations practitioner. The Managing Director of your organization has requested that you prepare and submit a written analysis of amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009’s multi-employer bargaining provisions resulting from the enactment of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 which received Royal Assent on 6 December 2022, the values (frames of reference) that have informed them, and their potential consequence for employers and employees.
Setting the scene:
The historic Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (Cth) (Secure Jobs Act) passed Parliament on 2 December 2022. It introduced the most significant and wide-ranging changes to Australia’s workplace relations framework since the introduction of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act).
While it provides for significant amendments to the Fair Work Act and associated legislation, the most topical and controversial aspects related to the expansion of access to multi-enterprise agreements and multi-employer bargaining.
1 The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Burke, has made it clear that the current Government aimed to expand multi-enterprise bargaining, especially for low-paid workers, to ‘get wages moving’. Unions argue that increased access to multi-enterprise bargaining is necessary for wage growth, given single enterprise agreement coverage has plummeted in recent years. They contend it will increase wages for covered employees due to the increase in leverage and bargaining power that comes with bargaining as part of a larger group of employees.
Employers, employer associations and industry groups, on the other hand, are concerned that such changes represent a dangerous ‘throwback’ to a by-gone era of industrial relations, arguing that the introduction of multi enterprise bargaining will lead to increased bargaining disputation, reductions in productivity gains and sector or industry-wide industrial action.
(Anon. (2022) What is ‘multi-employer bargaining? Could it help lift wages growth in Australia? The Guardian, August 25; Marin Guzman, D (2022) What multi-employer bargaining means for business Australian Financial Review, November 20.)
The Assessment Task:
In the context of the background information presented above, students are to research and write an analytical essay which uses relevant employment relations (ER)/industrial relations (IR) theory, empirical research evidence and other authoritative sources (policy statements, campaign publications, submissions to government inquiries and industrial tribunals, annual reports, informed media and academic commentary) to present a written critical analysis of the following questions:
• What reforms to the Fair Work Act’s multi-employer bargaining provisions were made by the Albanese-led Federal ALP Government, with the enactment of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act in December 2022? What was the Government’s rationale for the enactment of these changes?*
• What were the main arguments put forward, both for and against the multi-employer bargaining reforms, by employer associations, and trade unions on behalf of workers? Which of Fox’s (1974) frames of reference (Topic 1) have the strongest influence over the main arguments put forward by both employer associations and trade unions?
• With reference to the known outcomes of multi-employer bargaining, what are the potential consequences of the recent reforms to the multi-employer bargaining provisions of the Fair Work Act for the two sides of industry – employers and employees?
*In answering the first question there is no need to reproduce the provisions of the Act being discussed in full or word for word. Rather it is beneficial to the learning process to discuss the provisions that you identify as pertinent to the questions in your own words as much as possible.
A professional-looking document builds credibility.
Your essay should be reader-friendly, so please ensure it:
o has a title page (which lists the unit code and title; assessment task title; student id number and name; and word count).
o is written in essay format.
o is in 12pt font.
o is 1.5 or double spaced with 2 cm margins on each side.
o has numbered pages.
o uses correct in-text referencing (APA or Harvard system).
o includes a reference list which is correctly formatted (APA or Harvard system) and begins on a new page.