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  • A Queensland escape for the IR weary | Business Spectator
    this and small business and jobs growth should strengthen in Queensland Queensland s tourism and hospitality sectors would be major beneficiaries Some 430 000 Queensland workers would be covered by a Queensland small business industrial relations system Included under the definition of worker are also the 50 700 small business employers who employ up to 380 000 Queensland employees It s important to expand the idea of worker to include small business employers because these employers are just ordinary individual people working to earn their living In small business there s no difference between the worker employer and worker employee Understand this fact and it becomes possible to create a new understanding of what industrial relations laws should target Since at least the middle of the last century industrial relations laws have worked on the entrenched belief that the employer employee relationship is one of pre determined inequality of bargaining power That may still be true and justified as a guiding industrial relations regulation principle in big business and the public sector But it s not true in small business In our submission we argue that the relationship between a person who owns and runs small a business and the other people working in the business is one of countervailing power relationships Employees can exploit the individual who is the employer for example by stealing from them When employee theft occurs in small business the theft is from the pocket of an actual person the employer This is totally different with employee theft in big business or the public sector There the theft is against the total organisation not an individual In fact for small business there s no justification for structuring industrial relations laws around the presumption of inequality of bargaining power Here s the opportunity in Queensland The vast majority of unincorporated businesses sole traders and partnerships in Queensland are small businesses In bringing back these industrial relations powers Queensland has the opportunity to create an industrial relations system specifically for people working in small business In essence such as system should be modelled more along the lines of consumer affairs laws than existing industrial relations laws Legislation should be simple short and readable without the need for lawyers One basic set of wage rates and working conditions should be set giving everyone total clarity on the minimum that is payable An enforcement body should strictly enforce minimums with fines for repeat offenders Any workplace disputes should be handled without lawyers requiring the individual employer and employee to represent themselves in an informal non legalistic simple tribunal setting Instead of unfair dismissal laws there should be a fair dismissal code Federal Labor promised this for small business in their 2007 election undertakings but they broke this promise Queensland could apply such a code for people working in unincorporated businesses And Queensland could take its industrial relations arrangements into the reality of a 24 7 Queensland economy and society This particularly applies in tourism and hospitality where customers you

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2012/12/19/small-business-sme/queensland-escape-ir-weary (2014-01-12)
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  • Desperate solutions for a broken union brand | Business Spectator
    s reason to believe this will work In 2007 Channel Nine uncovered a secret slush fund in the NSW Transport Workers Union This TWU training fund accumulated vast sums in payola from labour hire companies who supplied staff to Qantas at Sydney Airport A TWU organised audit found the fund was secret The union boss involved was not sanctioned The TWU whistleblower members were expelled from the union The union boss was promoted to a higher position in the national union But time has pushed this scandal into distant memory just as union corporate affairs and marketing managers would hope The problem Australian unions have however is that they suffer from a seemingly unbreakable cycle of internal scandal In living with this reality the ACTU has assumed that the best defence is attack They revert to throwing resources at trying to demonstrate that unions still protect the little person The key current effort around this is their campaign against insecure work Their alleged aim is to protect the 40 per cent of the workforce who are casuals and independent contractors self employed people I m an insecure worker myself I head a small organisation Independent Contractors Australia that sees great value in and seeks to improve the regulation environment for self employed people The union campaign is anti self employment and offensive The ACTU line is that people must have permanent full time employment to be able to survive The ACTU wanted us ICA to participate in a sham inquiry they d established We said no We didn t want to contribute to a sham campaign directed at attacking self employed people Even union members don t believe in the campaign objectives An ACTU survey of 42 000 workers 98 per cent were union members showed that 80 per cent did not rate permanent employment as important to them As an exercise the ACTU campaign affronts working Australians The truth is that people don t need permanent full time employment Instead people need reliable and ongoing income Steady income can be achieved through many forms of work including seemingly insecure work The fact is that so called insecure work in all its forms undertaken by some five million Australians is rewarding because it gives freedom from wage slavery and delivers income What s more name one alleged secure job that is actually secure In defiance of these real truths the ACTU have poured huge resources into demonising the working lives of let s call us the freedom workers That is we are free from the bondage of permanent employment a bondage the ACTU seems to need to impose on everyone But from a union brand defence perspective the ACTU campaign makes sense to them Their claim of protecting insecure workers is important to their social and political positioning Australian unions are a bit like tobacco companies Unions have a damaged brand In their desperation to fix the problem they are hitting out at a huge sector of the workforce people

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2012/12/18/resources-and-energy/desperate-solutions-broken-union-brand (2014-01-12)
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  • Unscrambling Gillard's OHS hash | Business Spectator
    liability to control is so important The new SA Act incorporates control stating A person must comply with safety responsibilities to the extent to which the person has the capacity to influence and control the matter This is an important correction to the Gillard harmonised model Also significant is that the SA act secures the right to silence OHS law is a form of criminal law Surprisingly the Gillard model denies this normal right to criminal justice Further union entry rights have also been restricted in SA in comparison to the model OHS law SA has also removed the risk of volunteers being prosecuted Volunteers exposure blew up as an issue early this year following a Scout Association memo in New South Wales Analysis I wrote for Business Spectator earlier this year OHS law tied in knots January 17 clearly showed the Gillard OHS law exposes volunteers to prosecution in a way not seen before This package of SA amendments summarised and referenced here makes common sense However it means that SA has not implemented Gillard s harmonised OHS push In fact the SA laws now look more like the Victorian OHS laws rather than the harmonised laws Victoria is not implementing the harmonised laws An interesting question is whether Gillard will deny SA the cash some call it a bribe it s promised state governments who implement her model laws But SA has gone even further The development of the codes of conduct that are to accompany the harmonised laws have been bogged down in controversy This has happened because of the impracticality and excessive prescriptive detail contained in the codes Much of this comes from the fact that in lacking a structure around control the model harmonised law sends confusing signals to code framers This results in drafters believing they must be highly prescriptive SA has in part fixed this because with control inserted codes can be drafted knowing that people at work are required by statute to exercise higher judgment therefore requiring less prescription SA is reinforcing this by inserting into its act that the SA small business commissioner has an oversight role on the approval of codes Given that some 96 percent of businesses are small one to seven people working in them this legislative structure is a welcome initiative It will force code developers to consider the practical small business realities of work as the starting point for code design If they don t the small business commissioner will seek changes I d suggest that several of the codes already drafted will need major review as a consequence It s impressive that SA a Labor state has shown a lead But it happened because the Upper House in SA is not controlled by the government A combination of Liberals Family First and independents headed on this issue by John Darley MP negotiated the changes described above There s more that s needed namely clarifying what a person conducting a business or undertaking means under the

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2012/11/13/politics/unscrambling-gillards-ohs-hash (2014-01-12)
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  • Lend Lease skirts Victorian building foundations | Business Spectator
    proven to add 30 per cent plus to construction costs Clause 4 3 incorporates the terms of the Building and Construction General On Site Award 2010 This means that there are over 220 pages of documentation external to the agreement regulating the employment relationship creating major managerial complexity The use of contracting out and labour hire is massively restricted and controlled under the agreement clauses 8 2 27 1 27 2 hugely limiting Lend Lease s capacity to respond to changing work circumstances arguably predetermining delays and inefficiencies Further Lend Lease may not use any subcontractor unless first they have consulted with the union Clause 16 effectively mandates that Lend Lease must employ non working union delegates That is Lend Lease must pay union officials to be on site but not to do any construction work This is precisely the provision that caused the recent ruction at Grocon The union insisted that Grocon employ union officials Grocon said no and the union blockaded Grocon sites Lend Lease have agreed to employ such officials To each of these measures that Lend Lease has agreed an increased construction cost can be calculated But it s not Lend Lease that ultimately pays The cost is always and ultimately borne by the client Victorian Premier Baillieu has obviously done some calculations and decided that the Victorian taxpayer should not have to carry the cost He wants better value money for Victoria But there s one more issue and it s my favourite In looking at capacity to manage I always study the consultative provisions in agreements Consultation sounds wonderful but in the construction sector there s a different story At the Victorian desalination plant construction the builder Leighton Holdings wanted to change some rosters but had to consult The process went on for six months Lend Lease have signed up to a consultative clause clause 7 that most likely predetermines a Leighton s desal type delay process Several layers of union committees must be involved on almost any conceivable issue requiring a decision The effect is that Lend Lease is not capable of doing anything on a managerial level without going through detail complex negotiations with the union This adds major costs to all of Lend Lease s construction projects Lend Lease may be expressing love for the Victorian Construction Code But they ll have to do some fast footwork to prove that their commitment is reflected in their industrial agreement and actions Ted Baillieu doesn t seem to be someone easily fooled Ken Phillips is executive director of Independent Contractors Australia an d author of Independence and the Death of Employment Print this page More from Ken Phillips 10 Jan Harnessing the power of the one man brand 05 Dec China banks on SMEs for growth 29 Nov Freelance workers hits and myths 19 Nov Australia got caught out by Freelancer com 20 Sep Caution will reign in the Abbott government Related articles 10 Jan New home sales lift in November 09 Jan

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2012/10/17/construction-and-engineering/lend-lease-skirts-victorian-building-foundations (2014-01-12)
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  • The super self-employed taking over the world | Business Spectator
    and economists about what makes economies tick The human resource profession suffers from the same misplaced concepts reinforcing economists stagnant views HR people are obsessed with the idea that firms as economic units must operate as employment pyramids of command and control Any people engagement that is not permanent employment is seen as creating structural weakness That is only permanent employees are loyal to the firm and committed to performance Wrong Research released by Melbourne s Monash University shows a different picture It s been known for a few years that the much larger bulk of Australia s 2 1 million self employed are white collar professionals managers administrators etc HR people display a fear of these people believing commitment to the job is less than that of employees The 2012 IPro Index stands for Independent Professionals shows high levels of commitment to work probably exceeding that of employees The Monash report on these self employed professionals indicates that 96 per cent adhere to agreed work schedules 95 per cent meet work or project goals quickly 87 per cent say they do not waste time and 97 per cent meet work or project goals to professional and organisation standards Results like this would be a dream outcome for employee profiling The index results are counter institutive to the ideas of how business is supposed to be organised to achieve best results Contracting out which is really the topic under investigation is supposed to create a transient workforce But name any employment structured organisation that doesn t have constant churn of staff Yes there are some but staff stability doesn t necessarily translate into high performance Performance is more complicated than assuming it comes from permanency What s happening is that the surge in self employment that is people being businesses of one is changing the structure of economies and firms This is what French president Hollande doesn t understand Bonded and loyalty driven employment is deconstructing People are thinking like and becoming business people That s what the IPro Index is showing There s a different mental approach to work It s not loyalty and commitment to a firm that matters what drives self employed business people is loyalty to their own sense of professionalism and a commitment to the job at hand The index shows that self employed people are committed to their client organisation for the duration of the job This happens because it s a client relationship based on mutual benefit Further self employed people out profile employees on work satisfaction and happiness measures This enhances performance What s happening is that as large organisations chase performance they are inevitably drawn to the use of self employed people But this clashes with prevailing human resource concepts of what a firm is supposed to be The Monash University research demonstrates any concerns are based on declining concepts rather than hard facts Just as France s President Hollande has discovered self employed entrepreneurs know how to get things done

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2012/10/12/business-spectator/super-self-employed-taking-over-world (2014-01-12)
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  • Baillieu’s Grocon IR game-breaker | Business Spectator
    personnel The Games Village contracts contained a 34 per cent increased payment to the construction firm specifically to cover the costs of commercial construction industrial relations With the Gillard Government s removal of the Australian Building and Construction Commission this high cost increase is back in play This time my view is that the construction cost blowouts are heading north of 30 plus per cent It s a major explanation as to why resource project developments are now being put on hold Mine construction costs have become uncontrollable because bad union deals are spreading with great speed Premier Baillieu has looked at this and seen the threat He has an enormously ambitious infrastructure plan for Victoria seeing this as a key to driving growth This includes new multi billion dollar regional and Melbourne rail and roads links a new hospital prisons expanded port facilities in Melbourne and a new regional port The planned spend at this stage is 18 billion over the next 4 years Of all Australian governments only Victoria and Western Australia are running budget surpluses Baillieu has positioned Victoria to move forward on infrastructure development But importantly it s a matter of maximising the bang for the infrastructure bucks and stopping the cost blowouts Baillieu s put in place a process to do this It s called the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry It was announced about a year ago and is well into its implementation phase Last week I interviewed the head of the Victorian construction code s Treasury compliance unit Nigel Hadgkiss Nigel is well known within the sector and knows the Australian construction industry well He was formerly Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission In my record of interview Nigel explains some key differences between the Victorian code and the ineffective federal construction code now in place At the federal level the regulator can only act after a construction job has begun Nigel s compliance unit operates before and during the tender process Tenderers must be able to demonstrate compliance before they can be awarded a contract Worksite visits of tenderers jobs take place to validate compliance claims in tenders The ultimate sanction for non compliance is prohibition on tendering for Victorian government construction work The teeth in the code were demonstrated by some telling comments made by Nigel in relation to the Grocon dispute In fairly cautious language Nigel indicated that it is known that some employees of construction companies not associated with Grocon were involved in illegal picketing of Grocon Further that those construction companies approaches to their illegally picketing employees constituted a relevant factor in assessing compliance should those companies tender for Victorian government work The inference I took from this is that if a construction company fails to take action against its employees who act illegally against a competing business then the first company could have difficulty being accepted for government construction work Assuming I am correct it demonstrates the determination that the Baillieu Government has in ensuring construction cost blow outs do not occur because of industrial activity Significantly the focus is not on the unions directly but rather on whether construction companies tolerate or allow bad industrial relations agreements and practices in their business This is simply the government asserting its rights as the client Companies either ensure that they and their workforces comply or the companies need not bother to tender Without knowing the detail some stronger understanding of Grocon s attitude in this recent dispute perhaps becomes possible Nigel Hadgkiss indicated that the government has tolerated pre 1 July 2012 pattern agreements in tenders but for anything after 1 July the inclusion of pattern agreements will constitute non compliance and failure to win tenders Assuming that the unions demand that Grocon employ the unions people was after 1 July if Grocon agreed to employ them it would arguably be in breach of the Victorian code Grocon s business is such that it cannot afford to exclude itself from Victorian government work This is supposition but perhaps this was and remains a factor in Grocon s strong stance It s early days but what s potentially evolving in Victoria is a new construction industry environment Premier Baillieu is demonstrating a resolve to obtain value for money from construction The system he s put in place gives his government as the client real teeth As a model this could spread to other states Construction executives and firms that don t respond may find themselves being squeezed out of business Ken Phillips is executive director of Independent Contractors Australia and author of Independence and the Death of Employment Print this page More from Ken Phillips 10 Jan Harnessing the power of the one man brand 05 Dec China banks on SMEs for growth 29 Nov Freelance workers hits and myths 19 Nov Australia got caught out by Freelancer com 20 Sep Caution will reign in the Abbott government Related articles 13 Jan Indonesia ban no issue Palmer 10 Jan OM Holdings CEO resigns 10 Jan Korea China jostle for Aust resources 10 Jan Fed govt should support Alcoa ALP 10 Jan Solar and wind competitive with fossil fuels Gov t economist More from Business Spectator Technology Adapt or die Commercial The Future of Energy Family Business Alan Kohler s Family Business China China Spectator Please log in or register to post comments Comments on this article Comments Policy Roger R Fri 2013 02 22 04 21 I ve seldom read a more open belief that workers are the enemy once they cease to be passive and faceless actors I invite Ken Phillips to express the same determination to clamp down on unlawful non citizen workers being used as sweatshop labour in the recent big mining projects Or for that matter the long standing and systematic exploitation of trucking contractors by such as Toll and Woolworths Ken actually notes that the risk is passed on to the subcontractors and independent contractors down

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2012/9/10/resources-and-energy/baillieu%E2%80%99s-grocon-ir-game-breaker (2014-01-12)
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  • Small business snookered by social media rule | Business Spectator
    thanks to a decision by the peak Australian advertising regulator It s sent the legal profession and the advertising industry into a twitter Oops Have I just committed an advert What appears on ads is self regulated through the Australian Association of Advertisers comprising all the big advertising firms The association has a code of advertising conduct administered by the Advertising Standards Board The codes are primarily about stopping on advertising inappropriate language images portrayal of violence sexual appeal and sexualised images That s all good Recently the ASB handed down a decision on a complaint about social comment on a Facebook page run by Smirnoff the vodka drink brand The ASB found that Smirnoff had not breached the advertising code But the ASB declared that comments postings made on the Facebook page are advertising This is one of those examples where a regulator is overstepping their brief and extending their power by stealth To the common sense person advertising involves a deliberate decision by a business to design a message and to pay to have that message placed in a media outlet It s obvious that social media has morphed how messages are delivered into something new The difference between advertising and social media is that social media relies on what other people say and they are not paid or pay to say what they say It s called opinion and it s about people talking Yes of course companies have grasped social media to promote their products It s a more credible form of promotion because it relies on one key element the unpaid opinions of people about a product It s also a highly risky form of promotion Just as people can make positive comments about a product they ll also trash it Social media can and does destroy the reputation of products or services if the products or services don t meet the expectations of people This is the market operating to its most devastating effect But regulators are now seeing something they must control By declaring social media sites to be advertising the Advertising Standards Board has effectively said it has the right to be an overseer of people s individual comments and opinions The Advertising Association is requiring companies to monitor social media sites a few times during the business day Now dovetail this expanded definition of advertising with a successful conviction last year by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission In ACCC v Allergy the company was convicted for false misleading and deceptive conduct on their Facebook page The conviction was understandable given the company had given undertakings to the ACCC not to allow false statements on their social media outlets which they breached Clearly companies must be responsible for the way they represent their product services But the ACCC targeted prosecution of a repeat offender is significantly different to the Advertising Standards Board imposing a sweeping redefinition of advertising This is a typical big business approach to regulation extension The ASB is

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2012/8/28/resources-and-energy/small-business-snookered-social-media-rule (2014-01-12)
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  • Ken Phillips | Business Spectator
    to drive necessary innovation by Ken Phillips 6 37am June 19 4 comments The black art of workers compensation Failure to understand complex workers compensation laws can and has led to bankruptcy for many small business people But recently the issue has come into the spotlight by Ken Phillips 8 17am June 07 1 comment Stuck in a tax time warp England s tax war against independent contractors has dragged innovation and entrepreneurship into a ditch but Downing Street shows no sign of reversing course by Ken Phillips 1 31pm May 30 2 comments Banks and the myth of small business lending The indispensable value of small business to the Australian economy is becoming better understood but at an RBA roundtable last week it was clear bankers need to improve their understanding of small business people by Ken Phillips 2 13pm May 28 5 comments A mining boom killed by class warfare Labor s love affair with class warfare is dangerous and threatens to harm mining sector growth as the unavailability of skilled workers and industrial relations problems make new mines unviable by Ken Phillips 6 54am May 28 12 comments Gillard s SME sized budget confusion The federal budget holds some positives for big business but Labor s attempts to sell them as small business boosters are weak and betray its lack of understanding of small business realities by Ken Phillips 7 53am May 11 5 comments Climbing out of a productivity quagmire Productivity in the construction sector continues to fall and with companies like Leighton incurring major losses as a result of industrial disputes it s no surprise the Victorian government has been spooked into action by Ken Phillips 6 38am May 08 7 comments A giant leap towards mass entrepreneurship A radical proposal to remove SME responsibilities to administer tax and similar obligations seeks to ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship lacking in the quest for global growth by Ken Phillips 8 52am April 27 4 comments Playing chicken with OHS reason A High Court case involving Baiada Poultry has recognised the deep design flaws in Julia Gillard s OHS laws showing the reasons for growing rejection of the proposed uniform regulations by Ken Phillips 7 03am April 16 4 comments Qantas shows Air Canada who s boss The major industrial relations problems hurting Air Canada reveal Qantas superior management in a tale of two cultures where only one is responding to consumer choice by Ken Phillips 8 36am April 04 4 comments Striking out Gillard s OHS harmony It seems almost certain Queensland s new government will dismantle the prospect of Julia Gillard s uniform OHS laws but in doing so it may open the way for a new improved accord between the states by Ken Phillips 6 35am March 30 5 comments Treachery behind Labor s small business curtain While fronting up friendly stage lines on small business the government has behind the scenes introduced legislation that will cripple two significant small business sectors by Ken Phillips 8 39am March 19 16 comments Abbott s small business power tilt Opposition comments on small business signal intent for significant economic reform that will impact the fundamentals of how big business and big government operate by Ken Phillips 7 56am March 14 4 comments Score one for retail super While the government lies idle on super transparency retail funds are ramping up the pressure on their industry equivalents and it could threaten the financial muscle of this Labor establishment by Ken Phillips 7 51am March 12 6 comments Carving out O Connor s small business task Brendan O Connor s ascension to cabinet is good news for small business people but he will have a difficult task challenging the current big business big union economic orthodoxy by Ken Phillips 9 28am March 05 5 comments Page 2 NSW link risks a desal style disaster If the O Farrell government isn t careful its flagship infrastructure project may quickly end up facing spiralling labour costs a la Victoria s desal plant by Ken Phillips 12 25pm August 22 Old work hour habits won t die Workplace flexibility is too often interpreted as a one way street running against the interests of managers Given great productivity opportunities it s time for an update by Ken Phillips 8 47am August 20 1 comment From little businesses big economies grow As Australia and its developed counterparts seem to be slowing Malaysia s economy is streaking ahead largely as a result of its intense policy driven focus on small business by Ken Phillips 1 50pm July 23 4 comments Readying for an IR showdown A growing number of senior executives in big business are complaining of productivity problems driven by current industrial relations law but it s the Victorian government that s actually acting to force change by Ken Phillips 6 42am July 18 8 comments Taking the fight to SME bullies The powers New South Wales is proposing for its Small Business Commissioner mean those routinely intimidating SMEs into subservient relationships will find the game has changed by Ken Phillips 8 43am June 25 4 comments Harnessing the power of independent thinkers In a small business dominated economy productivity is at risk in big business structures Businesses must find a way to harness people with an independent streak if they are to drive necessary innovation by Ken Phillips 6 37am June 19 4 comments The black art of workers compensation Failure to understand complex workers compensation laws can and has led to bankruptcy for many small business people But recently the issue has come into the spotlight by Ken Phillips 8 17am June 07 1 comment Stuck in a tax time warp England s tax war against independent contractors has dragged innovation and entrepreneurship into a ditch but Downing Street shows no sign of reversing course by Ken Phillips 1 31pm May 30 2 comments Banks and the myth of small business lending The indispensable value of small business to the Australian

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/contributor/ken-phillips?page=1 (2014-01-12)
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