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Another nail in the coffin of complexity?

COSBOA has taken note of the revelation today that Woolworths has underpaid its staff. This reinforces the view that Australia's workplace relation system is unnecessarily complex, as highlighted in a recent article in the Australian Financial Review tilted “Change the rules? It's about time."

COSBOA CEO, Peter Strong, said: “I rest my case. It's now very obvious that the complexity of workplace relations is bad for employees and employers. It is basically impossible to be compliant with workplace relations. That’s not because employers don’t respect their workers, it’s because the system is too ridiculously complicated. Let’s face it — we have too many awards with too many clauses, allowances, rates and words. It seems that ambiguity rules. It’s like a game of Russian Roulette.”

“Some people will contest this but they are often the ones who make money from this complexity. The fact is, most people in this country are good people who want to do the right thing. 95% of union leaders don’t embezzle members' funds or use funds to go to brothels, 95% of employees don’t steal from other employees, and 95% of employers try their best to pay their staff correctly."

"If big businesses with HR teams such as Woolworths can’t get it right, what hope does a small business person have? If the national law firm that represents unions, Maurice Blackburn, cannot get it right, what chance do the rest of us have?”

Mr Strong added “COSBOA supports the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Attorney General, Christian Porter’s intention to identify and resolve the problems step by step. Work place relations policy needs to be underpinned by reality and practicality, not ideology. The job of government, associations and unions is to make sure we have good regulators and that the regulation is as simple as possible.”

Mr Strong concluded: “We would also like to see the unions' payrolls be audited — now.”

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