Nigel Ward, CEO and Director of award-winning Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors shares his thoughts on on how employment relations and your workplace could be impacted.

What can we expect?

• Enterprise bargaining will get harder. It could involve bargaining representatives agreeing to the deal before going to a vote, which could see a pivotal shift in workplaces with limited union membership but influential union involvement.

• Bargaining will likely mean guaranteeing nothing less than what exists in the underlying award.

• Terminating agreements will be more limited.

• Wage-bargaining deals will be run across an industry.

• Old (pre-Fair Work) collective agreements will have a drop dead date.

• Industry-wide work value cases will be much easier to run.

• The Fair Work Commission will return to settle all industrial issues, even if you have an enterprise agreement or your employees are covered by a modern award.

• Unfair dismissal and general protection cases will be streamlined and made easier for employees to run.

• The right of third-party lawyers to represent business and employees will be even more limited than it is now.

• Right of entry will be freed up, allowing union officials easier access to workplaces.

• Industrial manslaughter laws will be rolled out across the country.

Back to the future?

While this all sounds a lot like ‘Back to the Future’, employers must:

• Focus on a direct engagement strategy with employees.

• Invest heavily in front line (rather than executive) development.

• Ensure an aligned and consistently applied performance management approach is in place.

• Ensure employees have access to an effective and objective internal issues resolution process.

• Develop a sophisticated understanding of any unions in your business (as you would a commercial competitor or partners).

• When bargaining, give money before flexibility and flexibility before control.

Get in touch with Australia Business Lawyers & Advisors today or visit their website. You can also learn more about Enterprise Bargaining here.