"The ACTU call for industry-wide bargaining is seriously misguided and would reduce opportunities for employers and employees to negotiate genuine improvements in productivity and work conditions that suit their workplace," Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

"The cornerstone of our workplace relations system is the objective of achieving productivity and fairness through an emphasis on enterprise-level collective bargaining. This is supported by industry specific awards that set a safety net at the industry level.

"Our efforts should be on making sure our approach to workplace relations supports these objectives. We should not completely undermine the objective with the imposition of sector-wide bargaining.

"We can, and must, make it much easier for small employers to engage in enterprise bargaining that enables agreements to be relevant to the genuine needs of the business and the employees. We should definitely not subject them to a one-size-fits-all approach of sector bargaining and the prospect of damaging industrial action.

"The union push for new bargaining laws for the care sector needs to be treated with extreme caution. Many employers in the care sector, who are often non-profit organisations, are struggling to keep their heads above water and to look after some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.

"They do not need a new layer of complexity imposed on their workplace relations.

"The challenges facing the care sector go beyond workplace relations. This includes looking at how this sector is funded and at developing the skilled workforce this sector needs. What we don’t need to do is expose them to industry wide strikes and industrial action.

"It is pleasing that the Treasurer Jim Chalmers has not embraced the ACTU proposal which would take us back to a rigid one-size-fits-all wage system which has no place in a diverse, productive and innovative 21st century economy," Mr Willox said. 

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