A survey on Australian resources employers has identified that nearly half (47 per cent) have no plans to reduce their workforces at this stage.
According to a survey of more than 100 companies by Australian Resources and Energy Group, AMMA, 70 per cent of respondents have changed or intend to change operational rosters to minimise labour movement.
Two-thirds (67 per cent) have temporarily relocated employees due to travel restrictions.
The survey was also comprised of ASX50 companies and small to medium enterprises within the oil and gas and mining sectors.
“Now is the time to put faith in employers to do whatever is in their power, within reason, to get them and their employees through the COVID-19 waters without having to shed jobs,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.
“This requires bolder action on industrial relations policy.”
Employers surveyed expressed difficulties in enacting workplace changes during the pandemic due industrial relations (IR) system inflexibilities.
More than 57 per cent of respondents said the system had made it “difficult” or “very difficult” to implement workplace changes.
The survey also identified strict consultation requirements in enterprise agreements (54 per cent), followed by union agreement (34 per cent) and approval of the majority of the workforce (29 per cent), as a barrier.
“It is clear these unprecedented times require business to have more agility and urgency in their decision making to survive,” Knott said.
“The government’s measures to date – including the JobKeeper scheme and fast-tracking minimum consultation periods – are a step in the right direction, but are occurring too slowly and not offering broad enough relief to the majority of employers.”
Knott cited consultation provisions, dispute resolution procedures and lengthy analysis of whether employees were “better off overall all” against complex award requirements as part of Australia’s “overly-rigid IR system.”
AMMA has called on the Australian Government to consider suspending industrial awards and enterprise agreements for up to six months.