On Saturday, I published this story rebutting two pieces by Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite trying to convince us that the Fair Work Act is working (it isn’t). In the post, I pointed out that Thistlethwaite was using ABS data on work hours lost to industrial disputes and trying to pretend that the number of hours had gone down when it had in fact gone up. Shortly thereafter — and for completely unrelated reasons — I decided to start using the Major Karnage Twitter account properly and started following a whole load of Australian journalists.
Lo and behold, a few days later the story breaks in the Australian and in the Australian Financial Review that the FWA has caused a rise in labour hours lost due to industrial disputes. I see no possible reason for that other than my blog.
Yes, of course this could in theory be because the figures for the December 2011 quarter were released yesterday, but I’m going to conveniently ignore that, seeing as conveniently ignoring facts seems to be the in thing these days.
The number of working days lost to industrial disputes almost doubled in 2011, the most since 2004. There were fewer strikes, but they became more prolonged over issues beyond simply pay and conditions.
Former BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus told The Australian Financial Review that he saw no sign of the trend abating.
“That sort of data does not help with the productivity that is required to keep Australia competitive, it is as simple as that,” Mr Argus said.
The data fuelled the employer push for changes to Labor’s Fair Work Act, including narrowing the range of matters that can be bargained over.
Business says the data also fails to capture accurately the fallout from industrial action as it only includes actual stoppages, not overtime bans or threatened action cancelled at the last moment.
THE number of working days lost to industrial disputes has almost doubled in the past 12 months, with business and industry sheeting home the blame to the bargaining provisions in Labor’s Fair Work laws.