Employment Minister Eric Abetz is bound to cause a stir amongst employers following his strong criticism against what he called “weak-kneed” employers giving into unsustainable demands at the bargaining table.

In an address to the Sydney Institute, Mr Abetz warned of a wages explosion in Australia attributable to past “cave-ins” from employers when bargaining with unions. He questioned why employers have not been willing to “band together and just say ‘no’?”.

Consistent with his tough stance on unreasonable bargains, Mr Abetz said he will intervene to support Toyota in its Federal Court appeal seeking an employee vote to change an enterprise agreement that has “uncompetitive” provisions. It remains to be seen whether the support from the Minister of Employment will lead to a noticeable shift in Australia’s industrial relations culture.