The Victorian Labor government has flagged it will aim for modest annual pay rises of 2%, setting the scene for an arm-wrestle with public sector unions in bargaining over a series of major enterprise agreements.
Union calls for a return to industry-wide bargaining to boost workers' earnings have won the backing of the OECD, which says in its annual global employment report that negotiations across industry sectors can lead to "lower wage inequality".
United Voice secretary Jo Schofield has made it clear that the union won't accept "baby steps" in moving to a universal industry bargaining system if Labor wins the next election, saying a misplaced trust in enterprise bargaining has been damaging for its members.
The CPSU says it will recommend Bureau of Meteorology workers reject a new agreement offer that relegates delegates' access rights to a side deal and makes them subject to management approval, vowing in the meantime to keep inserting campaign messages into the bureau's forecasts.
The South Australian branch of the AWU has refused to participate in a hearing into a major grain company's successful agreement termination bid, telling the FWC it has "no confidence" in a legal process for employer terminations that unfairly bolsters their bargaining position.
A review of the 2015 amendments to the Fair Work Act's greenfields agreements provisions has rejected union pleas to axe "last offer" arbitration - despite a failure by employers to utilise it - and has recommended reducing from six months to three the "negotiating period" before the FWC can break deadlocks.