The review of the industrial relations reform in Australia since the introduction of the Rudd government, has presented companies with various issues and challenges including fairness and equality within the workplace, flexibility and efficiency and more importantly job security in Australia’s current economic state. On the 12th February 2012, the BCA made a submission to the review of the FWA (submission, pp. 11) outlining their concerns and desired outcome. Members of the BCA found the Act does support them in achieving operational goals, combating rising costs and assisting their workforces in adapting to an ever changing environment (submission). Also at the core of their recommendations to improve the FWA, is the need to ensure that businesses within the resources, manufacturing and retail sectors remain competitive by being adaptable to changes and seizing opportunities when they arise. The BCA members assert that features of the FWA limit the flexibility of employers to align production to the changing patterns of consumer demands, changing technology and the diverse requirements of the workforce. Certain provisions within the FWA (2009) also fails to give workers the flexibility they need around where and how they conduct their work. In essence, the BCA’s submission identifies provisions within the FWA that undermines industrial competition, impedes on productivity and employment, and minimal assistance in combating the increase and perhaps unnecessary delay and costs in conducting business.
According to Patricia Todd (2011), much of the focus for employers and employer associations was on transitioning and complying with the Fair Work Act 2009. The issues identified by employer associations included the impact of the modern awards to the services sector, whilst bargaining and agreement making within the manufacturing industry was of high priority. BCA members suggest that in order to support continuous improvement, the current legislation needs to change. One of the proposed changes submitted by the BCA is the need to improve the validity and efficiency of the bargaining process. Under the current FWA, the bargaining regime gives rise to the pluralist nature of Industrial Relations (IR) that was previously disguised in some workplaces through Work Choices (WC). Under the previous Howard government’s Work Choices proposal, employers were able to exercise far greater control over the determination of wages and working conditions and if they chose not to, did not have to bargain (Cooper & Ellem, 2009). The BCA believes that there