Media Releases

Multi-employer bargaining an important tool to address skills shortages

September 06, 2022

The Federal Government has announced plans to move ahead on giving workers and businesses greater flexibility to negotiate fairer and more competitive pay agreements across multiple employers.

This is one of the most significant outcomes of the overwhelmingly successful Jobs and Skill Summit last week. This is significant progress towards finding solutions to Australia’s wage crisis, after a decade of real wage cuts which Australian workers have been forced to endure.

The current enterprise bargaining system is not working for South Australian small businesses or their employees. SA's small business community would benefit from modern agreements that are easy to administer and suit the needs of employees and business owners.

Last week the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia and the HVAC Manufacturing and Installation Employer Group came out supporting multi-employer bargaining, saying it would stop the "race to the bottom".

Australia is facing a skills shortage, and small business is bearing the brunt of that. Multi-Employer Bargaining will play an integral role in encouraging workers to train for and remain in an industry. 

"Employers around Australia are embracing multi-employer bargaining as a way to end the 'race to the bottom' on wages and allows them to better focus on their businesses and the future of their industries."

"We're seeing a tight labour market and many employers are reporting skills shortages. Multi-employer pay agreements can simplify the pay negotiation process for small businesses and provide the consistency and security workers within an industry need to train and remain in a sector."

"The current bargaining system was built for an economy of 30 years ago, the nature of work has changed, but our workplace laws haven't kept up to deliver for small businesses or their workers."

"We're heartened to see the business community positively engage in the discussion about multi-employer bargaining, to secure their workforce and get the pay packets of Australians moving again."