Release type: Media Release


Federal enterprise bargaining working well


Senator the Hon Jacinta Collins
Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations

The latest report on federal enterprise bargaining shows the number of enterprise agreements operating in the national system remains high.

TheTrends in Federal Enterprise Bargaining report for the March 2011 quarter, released today, showed there were almost 25 000 current enterprise agreements, covering more than 2.5 million Australian employees.

Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Relations, Senator Jacinta Collins, said the number of current agreements showed workers and employers embracing the Fair Work system.

“As agreements made under previous workplace relations systems have started to expire, they have been more than replaced by agreements approved under the Fair Work system,” Senator Collins said.

“These figures clearly show that agreement making under the modern workplace relations system continues to work well.”

More than 10 000 new agreements covering over almost 1.5 million employees have been made since the start of the Fair Work system until the end of March this year.

The construction, manufacturing and retail industries accounted for more than half the current agreements.

Private sector average annualised wage increases delivered by enterprise agreements approved in the March quarter was 3.8 per cent, steady from the previous quarter.

The report also shows that in the private sector, wages growth was variable during the March quarter 2011, ranging from 4.4 per cent for the construction industry and 4.6 per cent for the education sector to 3.2 per cent for the retail industry and 2.8 per cent for agriculture.

“This demonstrates that the Fair Work enterprise bargaining system is flexible, linking wage outcomes to industry circumstances,” Senator Collins said.

“This is a clear demonstration that the federal workplace relations system of agreement making is meeting its objective to balance the needs of employees and employers, without taking away basic rights and guaranteed minimum standards.

“Overwhelmingly employers and employees are getting on with the business of bargaining under theFair Work Act.”

The report is available online: