Driving towards a new award

With just four months to establish a new award, the RCA is busy negotiating laws that will directly affect the industry.

The focal point of the last month has been the start of the award modernisation process, with the R&CA pushing for an award that is separate from that of hotels and clubs.

Establishing a new award with coverage in all states and territories is an intense process. At this stage it looks as if it will be complete by the end of December this year, which provides us only four months to argue the case for a simple, fair award that restaurateurs and caterers will able to work by for years to come. It will set the pay rates across the industry and determine the trading environment almost immediately. Any small increase in the cost of wages could be devastating. The Association is vitally aware of that, which is why we weighed in early.

The tactics of the negotiation are just as important as the information within; the R&CA must tread the fine line between keeping strong relationships with the other industry sectors, maintaining independence and working to the government’s agenda. But throughout the process, we’ll never compromise on the interests of restaurateurs and caterers.

Also to be finalised in the coming months are the National Employment Standards (NES) and the Fair Dismissal Code, which will both impact on conditions moving forward.

Our industry is like a passenger in the back seat of a car in this process—we are not in control of the agenda, but still we feel every bump in the road. We just hope that the government and Industrial Relations Commission are open to a little ’back-seat driving’.

John Hart
CEO, Restaurant & Catering Australia

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