The Business Council of Australia has added its voice to the business lobbies responding to the Morrison Government’s open invitation for anti-worker legislation by suggesting that the basic fairness test for enterprise agreements be scrapped.

The Better Off Overall Test (BOOT Test) ensures that every worker is better off under a new workplace agreement. The guarantee that a new agreement will not leave a worker worse off is the most basic safeguard possible, but the BCA wants it gone.

This would mean a return to the disastrous ‘WorkChoices’ era where thousands of workers were pushed onto substandard agreements because there was no genuine legal safeguard to prevent the abuse of the bargaining process.

The BCA’s proposal would leave the most vulnerable workers even more exposed to the excessive power of corporations. Young workers, casuals and part time workers could be targeted by businesses using the BCA proposal

The BCA’s proposed changes would be catastrophic at a time when wage growth has been at historic lows for almost seven years.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Big business wants laws to allow them to make workers worse off. They are proposing changes that would allow employers to pay people less than current legal minimums.

“At a time when working people are suffering from record low wages growth, the big business lobby wants to allow employers to pay people even less. This is not only unfair but it will exacerbate the problems currently facing our economy as working people have less and less to spend.

“Enterprise bargaining is supposed to lift wages and share the benefits of improved productivity and profitability, not leave vulnerable workers going backwards.  

“Enterprise bargaining is failing, not because of the few protections it provides, but because the current rules are stacked in favour of employers. Far too many working people do not have access to collective bargaining at all because of our out of date laws and those who can access the system know that bargaining rules mean it is far too easy for employers just to say no to pay increases.

“These are deep systemic problems that need serious attention. They are not being addressed by employer lobby groups because they want to find even more ways to keep wages low.

“Prime Minister Morrison must immediately rule out this harsh proposal from big business.