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Disappointing productivity outlook from award re-structuring



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COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

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DISAPPOINTING PRODUCTIVITY OUTLOOK FROM AWARD RE-STRUCTURING

The National Australia Bank/Australian Chamber of Commerce quarterly business survey is a further demonstration that award re-structuring is not going to produce productivity gains which are essential if we are to get out of our

present economic difficulties.

The survey bears out current Opposition concerns about the ACTU's very limited approach to award re-structuring.

Respondents were asked what effect they expected from award < re-structuring on labour productivity over the next twelve months.

Only 11 per cent said they anticipated a minor stimulus while 18 per cent expected a minor contraction. Sixty-five per cent expected no change.

This is a very disappointing result. There seems to be a great deal of scepticism about the benefits of award re-structuring before the process even starts.

If award re-structuring is to be successful it must focus on the needs of individual enterprises. This is necessary to ensure that changes are relevant and result in genuine productivity gains.

The ACTU's blueprint on the other hand limits the agenda for | reform and will compress wage relativities.

‘ it is extremely worrying if the NAB/ACC survey is a true indication of what we can expect from award re-structuring. At a time when we badly need to improve competitiveness, we cannot afford money wage increases which without related

productivity improvements will add directly to costs.

The ultimate losers in these circumstances are the workers themselves who find their wage increases eaten away by inflation and record interest rates.

Award restructuring can play an important role in introducing greater flexibility into the labour market and therefore can provide an opportunity for productivity gains and sustainable real wage increases.

But it will not succeed if it is limited in the way the ACTU proposes.

CANBERRA Contacts Keith Kessell

21 May 1989 (062) 77 3170

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