Australia Must Reject Big Union Plan to Return to Big Strikes

05 Oct 2018 |

Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, today called on all political parties to reject the ACTU’s plan to unleash nation-wide strikes.

“This proposal needs to be shut down today. Any other position endorses the disruption of working Australians, a reduction in business and investor confidence – and would endanger the very jobs the unions claim to be defending,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said today.

Mr Pearson said a speech last night by ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus, exposed the reality behind the ACTU’s Change the Rules strike campaign – promoting the self-interest of Big Unions.

“Despite just 9% of private sector employees supporting unions by joining, the ACTU wants 100% of the workforce to bow to union demands through a return to crippling national strikes,” Mr Pearson said.

“Big unions want to be able to call big strikes just like the 1970s.”

Mr Pearson said the union movement’s calls for centralised industry bargaining – essentially demanding all businesses in a specific industry comply with just one set of terms and conditions – to replace enterprise agreements – where employers and employees in each business can work out the best way to work together – means the ACTU wants to dictate terms to entire industries.

“That doesn’t make sense because business – large and small – doesn’t work on the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that unions want,” Mr Pearson said.

“The ACTU’s rejection of enterprise agreements introduced by Labor Governments in favour of returning to centralised, industry determination of wages and conditions is radical, self-serving and damaging – it needs to be rejected outright.”

Mr Pearson said employees have been the ultimate winners under enterprise agreements.

“Wage increases under enterprise agreements are growing (up from an average of 2.7% in December 2017 to 2.8% in March 2018 source),” Mr Pearson said.

“These increases exceed inflation (2.1% June 2018 source) and exceed wages growth across the community (2.6% May 2018 source).

“We should be making enterprise bargaining simpler and more reliable by improving the frameworks, procedures, and tests for both negotiation and agreement approval.

“We should not abandon it for an outdated system in which union bosses dictate pay and conditions to businesses and the vast majority of Australians that choose not to join a union.”

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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