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Some labour links

December 9th, 2008

I’ve been meaning for a while to post some links to sites promoting campaigns to protect the rights of workers including the right to organise unions. Here are a few
Justice4Luke a site about the case of a union organiser sacked by the charity for which he worked.
LabourStart, an international site supporting union rights in many countries
Evatt FoundationAn Australian site with lots of useful analysis. One of the early Oz political bloggers, Chris Sheil, writes a fair bit there.

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  1. rog
    December 10th, 2008 at 12:10 | #1

    One of my relatives is a HR manager for one of the NSW Govt depts and I was amazed to find that they cannot be sacked, retrenchments are voluntary with the nett result that a large number are turning up for work and sitting around all day until retirement. What is shocking is that it is virtually a Govt policy

    http://www.psa.labor.net.au/news/1226039282_8326.html

    She has plenty more to tell, the waste is enormous

  2. Jill Rush
    December 10th, 2008 at 20:34 | #2

    It is interesting rog that you tell this story as if the workers are at fault.

    There is plenty of work but the will to reallocate jobs has to be found among the managers. This is not the workers’ fault although management would portray it thus. HR Managers are great at shifting this kind of blame whilst building their own little empires.

    One of the reasons the rich countries have a better balance of wealth than many places is the rise of workers’ collective action. Without that many workers would be subjected to working long hours for little pay. This was what was wrong with Workchoices as it was designed to be a system to drive down wages to compete with the Indians and Chinese where unions are far weaker.

  3. December 10th, 2008 at 20:42 | #3

    Jill,
    Yet India and China are both countries with strong “socialist” systems. Is there a lesson here?

  4. December 11th, 2008 at 04:37 | #4

    On my post http://chriswhiteonline.org there are posts on labour rights, the latest from Professor Harry Glasbeek who argues that the Fair Work bill is a sell-out for the Your Rights at Work campaign.

  5. Michael of Summer Hill
    December 11th, 2008 at 09:43 | #5

    John, whilst much of the industrial relations debate has centered around unions and union power I will simply focus on fairness. Most people don’t realise that animals in this country have more rights than workers. One only needs to take a gander at the industrial laws to realise just how unfair our industrial relations system is. To give you an example a union official can be penalised $22,000 for refusing to answer a question whilst a CEO responsible for the death of a worker can be fined a paltry $25,000. Similarly, judicial officers attached to the AGS office have been caught out manufacturing evidence, misleading the courts, apoligising to the court and have got off scot free. But the biggest rort of all is within the insurance industry whereby many disputes could have been settled out of court if only the State made it mandatory for injured workers to receive MRI scans. I believe the insurance industry and not unions are the real villians when it comes to workers compensation. Then the so-called government consultant who likes to stretch the truth will reconsider the false claim he makes that injured workers are malingerers. Time for governments to stop the rot and bring some fairness back into the equation.

  6. Nick K
    December 11th, 2008 at 16:02 | #6

    Jill says “Without that many workers would be subjected to working long hours for little pay. This was what was wrong with Workchoices as it was designed to be a system to drive down wages to compete with the Indians and Chinese where unions are far weaker.”

    Jill, in an interview given during this year’s Budget, even Wayne Swan acknowledged that wages had continued to rise under WorkChoices.

    So the whole argument that WorkChoices enabled employers to drive wages down to developing country levels is a bit hyperbolical.

    There is not much point in continuing to fight the last war here. When the economy turns, and more businesses go to the wall, unemployment rises, and employers are even less willing to create more jobs due to the new IR laws, the electorate is not going to care much for recycled arguments about how evil WorkChoices was.

  7. December 11th, 2008 at 17:35 | #7

    So the whole argument that WorkChoices enabled employers to drive wages down to developing country levels is a bit hyperbolical.

    Not really. When you take execs out of the equation, the evidence was pretty clear that workers on post-Workchoices AWAs were far worse off than other workers, particularly those on collective bargaining agreements.

  8. December 12th, 2008 at 13:25 | #8

    The Howard Liberals sold “work choices” on the back of a Euphemism substituting the word ecconomy for share holders.

    “It’s good for the wealthy” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  9. December 15th, 2008 at 14:00 | #9

    Of course you can blandly state that “wages rose” under WorkChoices if you, like Howard and Costello, included executive pay in the “average” and ignored real wages.

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