The Morrison government will push ahead with workplace law changes next week, despite the minister in charge being on leave.
A coalition-led committee on Friday tabled in parliament a report into the bill, recommending it be passed without amendment.
However, ahead of the Senate sitting next week, Labor and Greens members of the committee said it should be dumped altogether.
Acting Industrial Relations Minister Michaelia Cash said much work had gone into the bill, including talks with unions last year.
“The bill addresses known problems within Labor’s Fair Work Act that are stifling job creation and holding back wage and productivity growth as Australia recovers from the pandemic recession,” Senator Cash said on Friday.
“Discussions with crossbench senators and relevant stakeholders are continuing and the government remains committed to advancing the bill in the Senate during the coming sitting week.”
Labor senators said the bill was not a pathway to economic growth and recovery.
“Labor supports the view that the implementation of this legislation in its current form would see the inevitable further loss of workers’ wages and conditions,” they said in a dissenting report.
“An economic recovery that benefits the nation as a whole, rather than narrow interests, would promote productivity, including through improved job security and rising wages. In contrast this bill simply encourages the growing scourge of insecure work.”
The peak union body says it is concerned the government has cut it out of the loop in talks on the law changes since the minister Christian Porter went on mental health leave.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus, whose organisation took part in three months of talks before the workplace law changes were drafted, said she had written to Senator Cash seeking a meeting but had not heard back.
The government has dumped the most contentious part of the bill, which would have given the industrial umpire more scope to allow enterprise agreements that don’t meet the better off overall test.
But coalition negotiators face an uphill battle securing the support of crossbench senators.
The industrial relations omnibus bill makes changes to enterprise bargaining, wage theft penalties, long-term pay agreements on major projects and awards.