Global unions back workplace bill

Australia "urgently" needs multi-employment bargaining to be legislated, Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke says as the government scrambles to secure key Senate votes for new laws.

It's a call backed by global union leaders, who support the Albanese government's bill which includes expanded multi-employer bargaining rights.

Speaking after Australia's jobless rate dropped to 3.4 per cent, Mr Burke said economic conditions were perfect for real wage growth and laws need to be changed to make sure that could happen.

"Anyone who questions whether or not the ... bill is urgent just needs to look at these figures," he told reporters.

"Real wages aren't going to be in front of the extraordinary inflation figures that we see at the moment, (but) they should be at a figure higher than 3.1 per cent ... that won't happen unless we change the law.

"The key way to get flexibility and productivity outcomes for business while at the same time getting better wage outcomes for workers is to get bargaining moving."

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said the proposed legislation would bring Australia's industrial relations system in line with other advanced economies.

"Models of multi-employer bargaining are prevalent through Europe, including in Belgium, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Norway," ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow said on Thursday.

"These countries have shown how multi-employer collective bargaining builds strong and more equal economies."

The wage boosting benefit of the bill was supported by a study by the Australia Institute earlier this week, with the lift in bargaining coverage and subsequent wage growth afforded by the bill expected to lift nominal wage growth by 1.6 percentage points each year.

The workplace relations bill has already passed the lower house and is set to be debated in the Senate in the next fortnight, with the government looking to pass the laws by the end of the year.

But for the laws to pass the upper house, it will need the support of all 12 Greens senators and at least one crossbencher, with negotiations underway with key senators such as independent David Pocock.

Senator Pocock backs the majority of the bill but has called for the single-interest stream to be omitted from the bill so it can be scrutinised further.

Mr Burke has defended the single-interest stream, arguing that carving it out would lead to a "race to the bottom" on wages.

Speaking on ABC radio, Senator Pocock reiterated his concerns about the timeline for reviewing the substantial piece of legislation, noting that he was still working his way through 66 submissions to the Senate committee tasked with scrutinising the bill.

He also raised some other issues, including the union veto before agreements can be put to a vote.

The Greens broadly support the bill but are working through some points of concern that may inadvertently allow some workers to go backwards.