The Fair Work Australia policy is to blame for the chaos caused by the Qantas staff lock-out and fleet grounding on the weekend, not the airline or the unions, according to Servcorp CEO Marcus Moufarrige.
Moufarrige said the crisis and the impact it had on businesses all around the country could have been avoided, if an alternative industrial relations (IR) policy was in place.
“The real villain in this dispute is the Fair Work Australia policy. If we didn’t have the Fair Work policy, we wouldn’t have had this crisis.”
Policies should be judged on outcomes, Moufarrige said, and the Fair Work policy was found to be ineffective on Saturday as the country witnessed a national brand in crisis, staff locked out from their jobs and the economy threatened.
The current levels of industrial action around the country prove the Fair Work system isn’t working, Moufarrige added, saying he’d like to see a reasonable IR policy that works for both employers and employees.
“For too long, the battle between the unions and advocates of deregulated labour has ensured that Australia has bounced between industrial relations laws that are either too hard on workers, or too hard on employers. As a consequence, labour costs are too high, small businesses find it difficult to grow, and the nation is deprived of the functioning IR system we desperately need.”
Moufarrige suggests small businesses use the crisis as a lesson of the importance of developing contingency plans for critical service failures, whilst adding more flexibility to their operations.
“The flow-on effects of the Qantas dispute will continue to be felt outside the aviation industry. From tourism operators to taxi drivers and businesses whose staff were unable to fly home to work, the unnecessary losses will mount.”