Businesses are not against real wage growth as long as it happens in a sustainable way, Business Council of Australia Chairman Tim Reed told the summit.
“We want real wages to grow steadily and steadily over time. We believe that the IR system should be able to contribute to real wage growth.
Reed said the solution to sustainable wage growth was, and always had been, productivity.
He said productivity is boosted when “ingenuity in people is combined with investment in tools, skills and the ability to innovate.”
Reed also said there needed to be a “conversation about simplifying awards,” and that the negotiating system wasn’t working because it was too complex.
“By that, we don’t mean to reduce the number of 122 prizes that exist.”
“Simply going through them and making sure that all the outdated definitions, outdated terms and clauses are removed and that they are presented in a way that ordinary people, workers and employers can understand.”
“Because I don’t know how many of you have read an award. Not many, not seeing many hands go up.
“But they are extraordinarily complex and difficult to navigate.”
He also said that BOOT must guarantee results that allow all employees to be “better” by reference.
The number of employees covered by an EBA has decreased by one million over the last decade.