Release type: Media Release


Enterprise bargaining benefiting 2.4 million Australians


The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation

New data shows that more than 2.4 million working Australians are currently covered by enterprise agreements.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said today’s Trends in Enterprise Bargaining Report for the September quarter 2011 shows the number of workers covered by enterprise agreements grew by 350 000 since commencement of the Fair Work Act.

“By 30 September last year there were 22,731 agreements in place covering over 2.4 million employees across a range of industries,” Mr Shorten said.

“This report shows collective bargaining at the enterprise level has allowed workplaces to set pay and conditions suiting the needs of employees and enterprises.”

Some industries that traditionally relied on awards for pay and employment conditions have experienced even stronger growth in agreement making. 

Current agreements in Accommodation and Food Services grew by almost 20 per cent, while the number of employees covered by agreements in the industry more than doubled.

The report, by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, also shows the Fair Work system is delivering sustainable wages growth. 

“The average annualised wage increase for agreements approved under the Fair Work Act stands at 4 per cent – a moderate outcome,” Mr Shorten said.

“Importantly, agreements under the Fair Work system contain a range of provisions with the potential to improve productivity in workplaces.

“Almost 44 per cent of agreements contain a clause committing to improving productivity, more than 94 per cent of agreements have clauses to do with flexible engagement of employees and almost three quarters of agreements provide flexibility in the hours of work.”

Many businesses and organisations are also investing in training and staff development, with almost 90 per cent of agreements containing a clause relating to training.

“It’s clear that employers and employees are getting on with the business of bargaining and embracing the flexibility of the Fair Work system.”

The September 2011 quarter Trends report is available at: