Industry wide bargaining bad for workers and bad for small business

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA), Australia’s peak body for restaurants, cafes and catering businesses, has today expressed its opposition to calls for the implementation of industry wide bargaining.

R&CA opposes the implementation of industry wide bargaining for the following reasons:

  1.  Industry wide agreements would hurt small businesses when big businesses agree to amendments or compromises that big business can afford but small businesses cannot. 97 percent of Australia’s Accommodation and Food Services Sector are small business, and this would have disastrous effects.
  2. A one-size-fits-all approach that will be dominated by big business in the city will come at the expense of rural, regional and family business.
  3. The restaurant industry is too diverse for an industry wide approach with a modern award system that is already far too complex and arbitrary, industry wide bargaining would completely obliterate any nuance between business types within the sector.

R&CA CEO Belinda Clarke said that while the current system needed reform, industry wide bargaining would put tens of thousands of small businesses and their workers at a disadvantage.

“This proposal would leave small businesses who have already had the hardest two years due to COVID-19, at the mercy of big businesses who have much deeper pockets and much louder voices to cut deals that are preferable to them”, Ms Clarke said.

“We want the best outcome for workers and businesses here but if businesses are priced out of the market by big corporates who can absorb costs, our beloved family restaurants and cafes could be forced to shut their doors”.

R&CA will continue to monitor the situation closely.