Fair Work continues to fail, AMMA says

Three years in and the Fair Work Act is harming Australia's workplace relations environment, AMMA says.

The group has called for urgent reform of the act following the release of its fifth report in the ongoing AMMA Workplace Relations Research Project.

"This report marks two years since the first publication of the results of this ongoing study and clearly demonstrates the industrial environment has shifted dramatically for the worse," AMMA acting chief Minna Knight said.

"The ability for unions to hold new resources projects to ransom as part of the Act's greenfield bargaining processes continues to be one of the biggest concerns for significant Australian resource projects in the near future."

Since the start of this year there have been a number of strikes across Australian mines – particularly at coal mines, with BMA industrial action coming close to running for two years, while BHP saw industrial action at its Illawarra Coal mines, while in Western Australia Lanco saw unrest at its Griffin coal mine.

Iron ore mines also saw clashes between unions and management in Western Australia, however industrial action was averted.

Knight said the mandatory involvement of unions in greenfield agreements has "led to a culture where employers are pressured to accept exorbitant claims or face lengthy delays to project timelines.

"This latest research shows that more than one third of the resource industry has tried to negotiate a greenfield agreement in the past three years and of those, 19% had experience unions refusing to make an agreement with them at all.

"As more than $500 billion worth of potential new Australian resources projects begins trickling down the pipeline, Australia can not afford to have one in five projects stalling due to ongoing union tactics to extort unreasonable wages and conditions in what is already Australia's highest paid industry."

She went on to call a review of the process to eliminate the legislative loophole that allows for unions to take protected strike action without majority consent and before bargaining has even begun.

It comes as research reveals around 40% of resource companies are yet to renegotiate agreements under the Fair Work Act. 

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