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Ai Group protects manufacturers from unfair wage awards

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) says it has protected building products manufacturers and associated workers from the government’s draft application for “costly and less flexible construction industry award conditions”, according to a notice released this week.

The Full Bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission addressed “many concerns” which the Ai Group pressed on it about the draft modern awards which were released in January for Stage 2 of the award modernisation process, said Ai Group.

The Group’s chief executive, Heather Ridout, says Ai Group is devoting huge resources to making sure the award modernisation worked in favour of both employers and employees.

“In the current difficult economic circumstances, we had been concerned that the process could lead to some big cost increases for employers. It is therefore welcome that the Full Bench has been prepared to take on board many of the issues pressed by Ai Group,” Ridout said.

“The 27 new modern awards, and two amended modern awards, released on Friday contain many important changes from the earlier drafts released by the Commission.”

Ridout says Ai Group has protected manufacturers of building products from the application of costly and less flexible construction industry award conditions.

She also claims to have preserved the existing flexible and cost-competitive award structures in the information and communication technology industry (ICT) by convincing the Bench that it was neither in the interest of employees nor employers.

Ai Group has made a list of initiatives to protect workers in the construction and manufacturing industry, including extending the Modern Manufacturing Award to cover the manufacture of chemicals, paint, glass, furniture, clay, ceramics, insulation materials, rope, leather, canvas, gypsum, plasterboard and some other products.

Also, Ai Group has made sure the Modern Electrical Contracting Industry Award includes an exclusion for employers operating manufacturing businesses.

“Award modernisation is a massive and extremely complex task, with very tight timeframes. Ai Group commends the Commission for the consultative approach which it is taking,” Ridout said.

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