Business Council leader Jennifer Westacott says she is open to considering a detailed proposal on industry-wide bargaining, while labor movement leader Sally McManus said the best overall testing could be simplified, indicating that key organizations are ready to give ground. .
A few days before Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s jobs summit, Westacott said that while she was very concerned about the effects of sector-wide pay deals, she wanted to see more detail in certain areas such as the aged care, separating his position from other industry leaders condemning the union push.
“Listen, let’s see how it works and what the proposition is,” Westacott told ABC television. Insiders program on Sunday morning. “Our main concern is, is this the right way to address the very legitimate issues that Sally raises about people not benefiting from the trading system?”
Employer groups have pushed for an overhaul of the global best-off test, or BOOT, a legal threshold that ensures individual workers don’t back down in company negotiations, by removing clauses related to what-if scenarios and by allowing the ratification of agreements that have majority labor support.
When asked if the test could be changed, Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said simplicity had to be balanced with fairness.
“I think we can achieve simplicity and then embed very simple safeguards to make sure people don’t go back. You maintain that it’s better overall, but you don’t hold back on the deals for ages because there are complicated things for the commission to consider,” she said.
Westacott said she and McManus were seeking to revive key tenets of a recent abandoned agreement between the two organizations on industrial relations reform, including changing the global best-off test.
Earlier on Sunday, the ACTU, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group released a rare joint statement calling on the federal government to review apprenticeship funding and ensure digital literacy for all Australians.
The groups have urged the government to increase wage subsidies for apprentices, provide targeted payments to employers and workers to motivate them to complete their training and fund mentoring programs.