“Business” dials the wages whaaambulance

Except in the identity politics minds of the lobbyists there is no such thing as “business”. Via the AFR, the most outstanding example:

Employer groups are at war with one another over possible changes to the enterprise bargaining system, further damaging the prospects for the Morrison government of making any substantive industrial relations reform that would promote a jobs recovery.

…To the astonishment of union representatives, four of the five employer representatives expressed furious disagreement with proposals backed by Jennifer Westacott from the Business Council of Australia, representing big business, and the ACTU. They are now refusing any further engagement with the BCA, accusing it of not engaging in good faith bargaining by freewheeling with the ACTU.

The chief executives of the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, the Master Builders of Australia, Denita Wawn, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, James Pearson, and the Australian Mines and Metals Association, Steve Knott, will now write to the minister informing him they will put forward their own proposals and want nothing to do with the “fundamentally flawed” approach of the BCA and ACTU.

Ms Westacott and ACTU secretary Sally McManus had agreed preferential arrangements for union-backed enterprise agreements that would ensure these agreements were fast-tracked through the Fair Work Commission.

The trade-off was a softening of the wording around the “better off overall test”, known as the BOOT, that the Fair Work Commission interprets to mean no single worker can be worse off in negotiations over new enterprise agreements.

But the other employer representatives insisted any such commitment on the BOOT would have very limited practical effect while a preferential deal for union agreements would unfairly disadvantage non-union agreements and is wrong in principle and counter to existing law.

These whingers do not represent “business”. They represent sectoral interest groups out to gouge the public interest by promoting a destructive form of trickle-down economics that is anti-capitalist.

The angry group’s arguments are hogwash. If unions get better collective bargaining deals, then non-unionists will benchmark the same, or join the unions themselves. That’s what they are really whinging about.

Given the Aussie output gap, and attempts to reboot mass immigration, a shockingly weak labour market will need this support to prevent a rout of wages and collapse of demand. In turn, this will result is less investment, lower productivity and capital shallowing.

In short, the whingers don’t want to compete to advance, they want to grab a greater slice of the national income pie by capturing policy instead.

The BCA is actually doing something good, for once.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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Comments

  1. ‘Given the Aussie output gap, and attempts to reboot mass immigration, a shockingly weak labour market will need this support to prevent a rout of wages and collapse of demand. In turn, this will result is less investment, lower productivity and capital shallowing.’

    Should these ‘business’ groups succeed in their tantrum like behaviour and get what they want, how long can we go on with the above suggest result before it all turns to custard? Especially, given that we are already well on the way….

  2. Ahhh we all want a recovery, as long as I (the BCA) don’t have to pay the extra wages needed to lift the economy out its slump.

    Someone else can do that.

    Presumably businesses which are not in the BCA’s narrow subscriber pool / interest group.

  3. Jumping jack flash

    Higher wages are desperately needed so people can become eligible for the debt they need to obtain the basic essentials for a standard of living, and the debt can also grow the economy.

    If the economy gets the right amounts of debt growth it can maintain the current pile of debt, otherwise it will continue to fall over and crush us all under it.

    This price inflation to pay the higher wages is probably the missing inflation that the RBA was searching for under all the shelves in their break room a couple of years ago after they’d done all they could and lowered the cash rate for the 15th time, or whatever it was, and wages still did nothing.

    Who could have known that it was the wage theft that was suppressing it?

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