Wage reforms

WorkChoices can work for you, as long as you help your state association keep wages under control.

With changes to the fair pay and conditions standard, you will need to let the AFPC know where you stand. Two thirds of the WorkChoices workshops have now been run with pretty good audience attendances across Australia. In general it appears that the information has been well received albeit there are a number of unanswered questions on the details.

There really is so much to come to terms with in this reform package. The central focus on the fair pay and conditions standard as the safety net of conditions, as opposed to awards, is very significant. This creates one baseline for the whole of the nation (for constitutional corporations and those in Victoria and the territories) rather than state by state minimums. This is where the reform starts.

The minimum will be changed over time through decisions of the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC). The first decision of the AFPC will be implemented in Spring 06, at which time wage rates may to increase. The question is by how much?

In the end the level of increase will be determined by the strength of the arguments put to the AFPC. It is vital that employers (including individual restaurateurs and caterers) put a view to the AFPC. Your state Restaurant and Catering association will be asking for you to make your feelings known—I urge you to help us to help you to keep wage rates at bay.

John Hart
CEO, Restaurant & Catering Australia

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