Ashurst Bargaining Survey 2023 72 of respondents did not factor ESG into recent bargaining
30 March 2023
30 March 2023
The Australian industrial relations landscape is undergoing significant changes, from legislative reforms, such as the introduction of multi-employer bargaining, to reactions to changing market conditions and to business adjustments from COVID, all affecting Australian businesses.
Global law firm, Ashurst, has published its fourth biennial Bargaining Survey Report, which reveals the impact of the legislative reforms and the increased cost of living on enterprise bargaining, and how employers' priorities have shifted compared to pandemic times.
The survey also found that while many organisations and regulators focus on environmental considerations, social and governance issues are not considered during most employers' enterprise bargaining processes. Despite the increased global and national emphasis on modern slavery, diversity and inclusion, psychosocial risks in the workplace, and the impact of climate change on work, it appears that ESG issues have not yet started to impact the bargaining process for most employers.
The survey includes participants from various industry sectors, including infrastructure, finance, healthcare, higher education, energy, technology, and not-for-profit. The respondents include Australia's Top 200 ASX-listed companies and major Government departments and agencies.
Stephen Woodbury, Global Practice Head of the Ashurst Employment Group, said:
"2023 represents a big year of changes for employers. Since our last report in 2021, we've seen the Australian Government pass reforms to the Fair Work Act, which ushered in sweeping changes to enterprise bargaining and other industrial relations issues; the impact of the pandemic which is still being felt across some industries through the continued work flexibilities offered to employees; and the changing economic outlook with cost of living pressures affecting bargaining outcomes. Our 2023 Bargaining Survey Report shares the latest feedback from employers about these changes and the priority shifts which will impact them for the coming year."