A new OECD study has debunked long-standing business arguments that industrial relations deregulation will lead to higher wages growth or higher employment.
The study also endorses systems like Australia's where collective bargaining takes place at the enterprise level but allows for coordination across sectors and the economy.
The study, for of the OECD Employment Outlook for 2018 released this week, examines different industrial relations systems across the developed world, splitting them into five groups based on where bargaining occurs -- from completely centralised economy-wide bargaining to fully decentralised firm-level -- and the degree of coordination of wage outcomes across sectors. Australia's system is in the fourth group, "largely decentralised", where bargaining is firm-level but an element of sector-level bargaining or wage coordination is provided (in our case, by the awards system and the national minimum wage case). That's in contrast to the "fully decentralised" model of countries like the US that the Business Council and the mining industry continue to push for Australia to adopt, and which some neoliberal economists claim will increase wages.