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17:45 AEDT Thu Jun 7 2012
A fall in the number of strikes in Australia proves the Fair Work Act does not need to be overhauled, according to a state union.

Commenting on the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing a national fall in the number of days lost to industrial disputes over the past three quarters, UnionsWA secretary Simone McGurk said it proved the Fair Work Act was effective.

“This is a reality check for the campaign of myths by some employers who wrongly claim that Australia’s industrial system needs radical change in favour of employers,” Ms McGurk said in a statement on Thursday.

The union secretary said March quarter figures showed the number of days lost to industrial disputes in WA fell to 300, down from 2,300 in the corresponding period last year, and 5,900 in December 2011.

“This is one of the lowest recorded levels of industrial disputes in WA,” Ms McGurk said.

“If we look at days lost through disputes in WA over the full years to March 2010, 2011 and 2012, these have fallen from 25,500 to 16,700 and now 8,100.”

Ms McGurk said the trend was Australia-wide.

“Nationally, days lost due to industrial disputes have fallen for three consecutive quarters.”

While the Fair Work Act was “working”, Ms McGurk said it still needed to be finetuned.

“Unions are now required to give notice of industrial action, which is fair enough,” she said.

“However, there is no similar requirement for employers to give notice if they lock out staff, as was the case with the recent Qantas dispute.”