"The ACTU's celebration of the passage of cumbersome and costly IR laws at their national congress today will be galling for many struggling businesses facing an increasingly challenging economic environment which is now overlaid with complex and unwelcome new workplace laws," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.
"The new laws, which the ACTU leaders have much welcomed, were transparently designed to provide a lifeline to a struggling union movement. They do this by giving the unions a raft of new ways to impose themselves on workplaces, while doing nothing to improve our entrenched productivity problem and instead make our minefield of complex workplace relations rules harder to navigate.
"Sadly, the focus of union leaders on growing union membership rather than growing the economy won't be a shock to many.
"Unions can have a positive influence in discussions on how Australia evolves into a modern economy and faces up to the challenges around digitalisation, decarbonisation and diversification. They can engage on how we properly skill the workforce of the future. They can engage on how we can grow the economic pie, but they choose not to.
"Union membership has dwindled because they do not talk for most working Australians who want their workplaces to be successful and harmonious rather than fields for combative class warfare. 
"The working Australians who are likely to have access to employment opportunities curtailed through the unjustified limitations on labour hire and casual employment arrangements are similarly unlikely to welcome being pressured to join a union movement. They would be resentful that under the new laws resources that could be directed to sustaining wage rises will instead shortly need to be spent on paying union delegates to attend training to learn how to recruit members.
"The challenge to make Australian businesses more competitive and for their workforces to realise the rewards can only come from sustained productivity growth. 
"Unfortunately productivity seems to be of no interest to the union movement leaders," Mr Willox said. 

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