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The Forum > Article Comments > You're evicted, eliminated, fired! > Comments

You're evicted, eliminated, fired! : Comments

By Andrew Leigh and Justin Wolfers, published 23/6/2005

Andrew Leigh and Justin Wolfers argue for the benefits of unfair dismissals reforms.

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The new IR reforms are a step in the right direction for employment laws in this country. While the union movement is galantly trying to protect the last remaining influence it has on the Australian economy, I think that once the reform is laid out the majority of Australian workers will be better off.

The reforms promote the interests of small business (less than 100 workers) but also promotes the development of individuals. Individual workers are rewarded for their skills, experience and capabilities- not simply because they belong to a union or have a secure employment contract.

The new reforms, like any broad-scale change, will inevitably have some teething problems. However with change comes development. Individual workers will be able to exercise their own individual choices when neogitating employment contracts. It looks set to benefit those who are willing to change and adapt.

An example has been the development in the meat works industry. No longer are workers rewarded on simply 'hours worked' scenario but are rewarded on a productivity and skills basis. Individuals can either reap the rewards of working harder, or reap the rewards of working smarter.

It allows for a dynamic rejuvination of employment environments. Innovation and entrepenurship replaces entrenched bad work practises. Business owners will be give the incentive to employ more and workers will be given the incentive to exercise their individual rights.
Posted by Marlo, Thursday, 23 June 2005 4:58:03 PM
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Marlo, a bit of a curates egg happening. Whilst i agree that workers should not hide behind the benefits and slack work practices that unions have won and become the norm, i also don't think that freeing up unfair dismissal laws is going to make the unemployed more "employable" except in the sense that they will experience the same kind of uncertainty that current employees are feeling in some industries. Not to mention that the whole IR reform that the govt is attempting doesn't begin or end with unfair dismissal laws. They are attempting to strip the bride bare and take her back to the bone. Everyone that has nothing to do with unfair dismissal laws (current) think it's a nightmare. Quite frankly, it's the easiest thing in the workplace to manoeuver. A slack worker will always set themselves up. And why shouldn't a good worker be protected against being sacked for dumb reasons? It is very, very hard to win back conditions that one has unwittedly given up. When, as employees, we are working harder for less money, with our conditons and rights whittled down by legislation, who's gonna be bitching about it the most? Not the Paris end of town! Not the govt. Just us
Posted by Di, Thursday, 23 June 2005 11:40:11 PM
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I take on board your sentiments as to dimishing workers rights and conditions with the new IR reforms.

However, I think one major point which seems to be glazed over on this issue is the role which business and employers play.

By removing restictions to the movement of labour between industries and providing flexibility for employers a symbiotic relationship between labour and enterprise can exist.

A business operator, through the principles of our market economy, is attempting to maximise profit returns on financial and capital inputs. The role of workers in this situation is to efficiently and effectivly organise and apply limited resources.

The strength and resilience of the work force is essential to maximise profits. This does not mean that workers rights will necessary be wittled down to the bone and be exploited simply by having decreased rights and stablity. Indeed, in some cases, this may occur but the large majority of employers see the tangible beneifts of training and maintaining a stable workforce.

This will enbale employers to invest in their work force and individuals. It will provide leverage for workers to negotiate employment contracts on a skills basis and not purely on a numbers basis. It will remove the shackles of burdensome, non-profit related red tape which has restricted business growth.

Workers will not only be able to move vertically in their professions but indeed move laterally, on a skills basis. Previously such flexibility was constrained by inefficient labour laws.

These reforms will benefit both employers in increased flexibility and efficientcy with employees in terms of initiatives and greater individual investment.

Embracing the development of individual skills to invigorate the labour market has to be looked to as a benefit. Individual workers should look to develop their skills and expand their horizons. Stability is important but opportunity is paramount.
Posted by Marlo, Friday, 24 June 2005 11:33:10 AM
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Marlo, With all due respect I think you should stop reading textbooks on economic theory and look out the window.

The current skills crisis gripping the nation did not occur overnight, it is a direct result of employers reducing expenditure on training.

John Dawkins tried to force employers to invest in training through the training levy. This was abandoned when rather than training semi and unskilled workers, employers embarked upon executive team building exercises at swanky resorts and retreats.

Unfortunately everyone is now paying the penalty. Many businesses cannot find sufficient skilled workers to actively participate in economic opportunities being delivered through the current resources boom.

Businesses that did invest in training now have to compete in an auction style environment to keep the staff they have trained.

You assume that action of business owners/managers are determined by so called rational action to maximise profit. This is simply not true. Many management decisions taken are for other reasons, management ego for example. "I have decided to take this course and I will not listen to my workers even if they provide a better solution"

International studies have continued to show that highly centralised labour markets show no discernable difference in labour productivity to deregulated labour markets. So lets stop this nonsense of trying to turn the real world into what the economic text book describes.

Posted by slasher, Thursday, 30 June 2005 8:05:21 PM
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