Scummo union integrity bill really about crushing wages

Pity the quiet Australians, via Crikey:

The Morrison government is on the cusp of passing a controversial bill that it promises will crackdown on union militancy. In reality, it could spell the end of workplace strikes.

Under the Ensuring Integrity Bill, unions and their officials could receive demerit points for breaking existing laws. Enough points, and they could face deregistration or disqualification.

But the infractions that could risk unions getting shut down, or their officials kicked out, are far-reaching, and include the kinds of strike action that have, in the past, received widespread community support.

Offences include:

  • Striking for reasons that aren’t related to an ongoing enterprise bargaining agreement negotiation or proposed changes to an award rate — 300-1000 penalty units
  • Submitting paperwork or financial reports late to the union watchdog — 500 penalty units
  • Failing to remove a non-financial member from the list — 300 penalty units
  • Failing to train an office holder in financial management within six months of them starting — 500 penalty units.

Professor Anthony Forsyth of RMIT’s Graduate Business and Law School told Crikey there were already legal avenues to bring unions into line: employers can seek an order from the Fair Work Commission or the Supreme Court to end a workplace protest, while the government could apply to have a union deregistered if it breaks the law.

He said that there was a link between the bill and the government’s recent moves to further limit secondary protest action.

“There is a clear desire to stifle dissent or dissenting views in the various ways that they have pointed out this legislation will apply in industrial action cases, and to unions,” he said. “It links up with the government’s desire to prevent noisy voices of dissent which is not good for democracy”.

It doesn’t take Einstein to connect lower industrial action with weaker wages since the GFC (as one factor):

And I am no fan of corrupt unions.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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Comments

    • They are serving Australians via proxy: via corporates who are happy with the LNP’s own ideologies and preferences; its just that it doesn’t translate well at all to actual Australian individuals because the corporate filter causes some, ahem, transmission problems…

      • The McCrazzypants part is one could argue the S-suite perspective – that higher pay equals a better job, pay politicians more like the top admin in the private sector …. chortle ….

        We can get rid of voting and have the process farmed out to experts [tm] in the private sector, just like C-corps does, especially the part about the experts getting payed a percentage of the Executives pay, and as everyone knows it has to be more than before or the market spirits will question the profitability [tm] of the company.

        Its just one gigantic self liking ice cream cone … whats not to like …. the equity in you portfolio goes up and you can call yourself a savvy investor ….

        Rues might even give you a BJ ….

    • but if strikes are made mandatory violent and destructive that could help GDP … imagine all that GDP boost from replacing destroyed cars, smashed windows, burned buildings, cleanup, … plus health care and security sectors would be booming

    • Burb, before the honking the horn for the unionistas just remember that they are part of an (overpaid) elite. All those not protected by by such an organization get to earn the ‘market rate’ ie. a lot less.

      • Wow. Just… Wow.

        That’s right folks, workers barely making enough to survive on are “overpaid” “elites” if they’re in a union.

        The chain of reasoning here is just… staggering.

        ‘Workers are getting screwed by a lack of bargaining power.’
        ‘Yeah, except those guys over there in a union, they’re doing OK.’
        ‘Clearly the problem is unions.’

        • LNP logic and reasoning power.
          sort of like the reasoning power of QLD cops, ” There are cops and there are robbers, Cops are good, robbers are bad, Im a cop, therefore I am good, your not a cop therefore you must be bad.”

        • You’re not one for nuance smithy are you? How about I spell it out for you: I am pointing out that there are two tiers of worker out there:

          – those that do NOT benefit from the protection of an organization like a union, and
          – those that do

          The former group are the ones doing it tough but many in the latter group earn way more than they would without the protection of a bunch of bullies. Exhibit A: a traffic lolly-pop operator in QLD was earning around $130,000 per annum (with penalty rates). The highly unionized port worker (crane operator) earns a staggering $160-$190k per annum, to do a job a fvcking peanut could do. Meanwhile, people with more ability and far superior work ethic are grinding away for $50k out there.

          If you see any justice in that then you truly are an intellectual derelict. You and that other peanut who commented below you. ‘Progressives’, lol.

          • You’re not one for nuance smithy are you?

            Depends on who I’m talking to. No point wasting the cycles.

            The former group are the ones doing it tough but many in the latter group earn way more than they would without the protection of a bunch of bullies.

            Yeah, nah.

            Plenty of people in unions are doing it tough.
            Plenty of people outside of unions are earning way, way more than they’re “worth” and are most certainly not “doing it tough”.

            Exhibit A: a traffic lolly-pop operator in QLD was earning around $130,000 per annum (with penalty rates).

            No they weren’t. If the maximum hourly wage they could possibly be paid was added to a dollar value of their allowances and extrapolated out to an entire year’s income, the result was $130k.

            Same way someone in a minimum wage job might be “on $90k” if you take what they make in their 50th hour for the week on a public holiday and multiply it by 2000 hours.

            Meanwhile, people with more ability and far superior work ethic are grinding away for $50k out there.

            I like the way you’re OK to apply some ostensibly objective level of “worth” to work when it’s convenient to your argument, but whenever other people try and do it (say, for teachers) they’re unhinged progressives.

            Most people need unions (or strong laws to set baselines for wages and working conditions) because most people have little bargaining power with their employers (or are “worth” very little in your world – regardless of ability and work ethic).

  1. “It doesn’t take Einstein to connect destroyed industrial action with weaker wages since the GFC (as one factor):”
    Yeah!! Weak wages have NOTHING to do with the deliberate hollowing out of every productive sector of the Australian economy that has been going on for 60 years?

    • Wages phft …. the expectation of bulldozers under the cover at night mowing down all the shanty towns and erect magnificent obelisks to ones own grandeur, rented out and create income streams of perfection in perpetuity is what life is all about … drugs and sex is just a cheap substitute when government spoils the gifts of the divine ….

  2. Jumping jack flash

    Good. This will surely create the much needed extra wage capacity for the fortunate at the top of the pile to grab hold of and use to grow their debt piles.

    Because the amounts of debt the rich can take on are far larger than those of the poor. The rich must be protected at all costs and the wages of the poor given to them.

    This will allow the rich to take on additional piles of debt and hand them up to make the next level of the debt pyramid even richer!

    • Sigh …. all money is debt … money is created by a contract that has two sides … be it a bar tab or a nation … its purpose in the grand scheme of things is the issue at hand.

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