A subtle shift — or subtle as these things go — has occurred over the last 12 months in the industrial relations debate, and it’s an important one. The business lobby, its media cheerleaders and the Coalition have shifted ground on IR, from productivity to wages.
That’s primarily because business lost the productivity “debate”, such as it was. We have a major problem with labour productivity, business insisted, via organs like the Financial Review, because the Fair Work Act is too inflexible. And every quarter from the end of 2011, the national accounts would emerge to show growing labour productivity under the Fair Work Act.