The Albanese Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit concluded on Friday. The product of months of planning, the union movement came with our vision for how we need to reshape our industrial relations system to deliver better outcomes for workers and local businesses, not just the top end of town. Our core themes were:
- An Economy that Works for People
- Skilling the Nation
- Secure Jobs for a Safer Climate
- Delivering Equity for Women at Work
You can read the Australian Council of Trade Union’s four discussion papers on each of these themes here. At the close of the conference, the Government announced agreement between business, unions and government on 32 initial outcomes. You can read the full list here. Exciting outcomes include agreement on unions’ proposal to update the Fair Work Act to permit multi-employer bargaining in addition regular EBAs.
Minister for Industrial Relations and Employment, Tony Burke, has announced that consultation to bring about the agreed changes to the Fair Work Act will commence this week. Unions will be actively involved at every step of the way.
The new Federal Government has also foreshadowed its intention to legislate to limit the circumstances in which an employer may terminate an agreement that would result in cuts to workers’ wages and conditions.
It’s early days for the Albanese Government, but after nine years of legislation targeted at union members, a new government that has demonstrated it is willing to listen to working people is a refreshing change. The real test will be getting these changes through parliament and Treasurer Jim Chalmer’s first budget – set to arrive next month.