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ACTU’s package of woe would destroy small business in Australia.

A member of COSBOA has branded the ACTU’s demands for changes to workplace relations as “Union Choices”, a package that would destroy employment in the Australian small business sector.

Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, said today “The call by the ACTU for employees to be able to become permanent at their request after 6 months work is unworkable and would result in less employment not more. This proposal and other similar proposals would threaten the livelihood of small business people and over 4.5m people they employ, most of whom are permanent employees.”

COSBOA knows that the facts do not support the ACTU rhetoric. There has been no increase in casual employment with the current rate of 22% workforce casualisation having been relatively constant for more than 20 years. But the raft of proposed changes to workplace relations from the ACTU extends well beyond their casual to permanent employment proposal.

Mr Strong added “disturbingly the ACTU want all employees with children under 18 years of age to be able to name their own working days and hours. This proposal goes against the need for people to be employed to deliver goods and services at times and hours that suit consumers. What does the ACTU want a small business owner to tell its customers; sorry, we can’t help you right now but please come back at a time that is convenient to the ACTU? That business would cease to exist as would the jobs.”

The ACTU has also demanded that the Fair Work Ombudsman be scrapped and they, the ACTU, become the new regulator of small business workplaces across Australia. How would replacing an independent, government funded, world class organisation with unregulated untrusted unions be a good thing?”

Mr Strong also stated “They, the ACTU, are basically stating that the worst thing that can happen to an Australian is they get a job. It is all downhill from there. Listening to them is getting to be depressing and demotivating. Why try and get a job? Why run a business? Why do anything? Australia is hell. This is obviously not true. Running around like Chicken Little will not create a good environment.

Apart from enjoying the protections of a world class Workplace Ombudsman, modern workplace laws and very good employment conditions, Australian employees actually enjoy the fifth highest average wage in the world. There will always be areas that need improvement but painting a black picture of the economy and our society using blatant untruths only creates fear where there shouldn’t be any.’

COSBOA agrees that we need better definitions around what is a contractor and will confront this issue soon with a round table with stakeholders. However if we want to maintain our high standards than we need to confront real issues. We have a much greater crisis around vocational skills development for workers; the issue of equal pay for women; better childcare support; a tax system in need of major reform; and improving the support for employers and employees offered by government funded employment services.

Mr Strong finished “If the ACTU gets its way my message to small business people will be Do not employ anyone as it will put you at very high risk of losing your home and your health.

As my member said “this Union Choices must never see light of day.”


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