The Fair Work Australia decision overnight to order the termination of industrial disputation immediately, rejecting the unions request for a 120 day moratorium on action, is a win for managements right to manage for the long term health of a business at the expense of short term and sectional interests of a group of employees.
The implications go wider than just Qantas, although the catalyst to the decision by FWA was the generation of political pressure brought about by the lockout. If you cannot generate the political pressure, the result would have been different, this is hardly fair to the vast bulk of businesses, and it has reintroduced the spectre of compulsory arbitration by a legislated body of political appointees.
It will be interesting to watch the way this plays out across the political landscape over the next couple of years before the next election. The unions will be outraged, and we will see posturing worthy of an academy nomination, but the threat of an Abbott government coming in with an agenda that includes a further winding back of union power will give them nightmares.
I guess the lesson is that if you have the power, use it, but if you don’t, get ready to duck because the industrial landscape just got ugly, and unpredictable.