Union values resonate

The Australian Bureau of Statistics in the graph (courtesy of Unions NSW) will not surprise IEU members. Campaigns across all sectors of the union movement have ensured relevance.

IEU members will recall the protracted Catholic systemic schools campaign to achieve an arbitration clause which provided an explicit provision for either party (employer or union) to notify a dispute to the Fair Work Commission when all other attempts at resolution have not met with success.

Salary and wage outcomes have been constrained by NSW government policy in terms of the 2.5% public service salary cap. It’s time for this artificial cap to be lifted.

Comments by the Reserve Bank of Australia in 2017 and 2018 indicate low wage growth and job insecurity are dragging on the economy.

The Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe reports (speech to Anika Foundation, July 2017), that “the persistent slow growth in wages is creating a challenge for central banks”. It’s a challenge for unions as well.

A survey by the ACTU of nearly 60,000 workers is neatly summarised by ACTU Secretary Sally McManus when she states that Australians “want pay rises that not only keep up with the cost of living but pay rises that are a fair share of productivity gains and profits.”

Collective action by the union movement in the Change the Rules campaign will assist workers by ensuring that the laws governing industrial action are reviewed and reassembled in a manner which does not thwart action.

Currently the laws determining the taking of protected industrial action are convoluted and designed to constrain. A rebalancing is required.

Mark Northam
Assistant Secretary