The AIER, along with the NUW and ASU, ran a successful workshop at the recent Progress conference on how to create decent and fair workplaces in progressive organisations.

Despite working towards a better world in various ways, many progressive organisations fail to live up to their values when it comes to their work practices. While working to make the world a better place, too often they fail to create workplaces to sustain the people doing the work. The workshop asked the question: What happens to an organisation’s credibility and brand if their employment practices are seen to fall short of their values? Furthermore, what effect does it have on their ability to attract and retain the best and brightest?

The first part of the session focused on key challenges, including

  • Security of employment: use of casual employees, contractors
  • Outsourcing: whether work is outsourced and if so what controls are in place to make sure outsourced work is done in a way that meets stated values?
  • Workplace democracy: whether collective agreements are in place; whether workers get to have a formal and significant say in the making of any agreement or any policy changes; is there a clear method to resolve disputes that includes recourse to an independent body such as Fair Work?
  • Risks: do concerns about organisational image or reputation ever interfere with employees raising concerns, or those concerns being addressed? What else can, or does, create risk factors in relation to employee’s rights and dignity?

The second part of the workshop introduced the Australian Charter of Employment Rights as a tool for managers and workers to use to help create decent workplaces. We focused on key elements of the Charter including Good Faith; Work with Dignity; Workplace Democracy; Union Membership; and Effective Dispute Resolution.

Participants talked with each other about challenges they face in the workplace and how the Charter could be used to manage such challenges. Interestingly, a lot of the discussion centered on introducing workplace democracy and effective dispute resolution practices into workplaces.

AIER is available to organisations to assist in helping to create fair and equitable workplaces. Contact us with any queries,