What is The Union Show?

7 12 2010

The Union Show broadcast on community TV C31 in Melbourne Australia from 2005 to 2009 and is a rich source of information on unions and issues affecting unions in this country. Whilst the program is no longer produced for television, the producers, United Productions maintain both a Union Show blog and the UnitedPro2010 YouTube channel as a means of disseminating union information that would otherwise be lost in time and in the morass of anti-union misinformation that is distributed by mainstream media.

An extensive archive of Union Show episodes is available for viewing at http://theunionshow.blip.tv. Current union information can be sourced at www.theunionshow.com.au and at the UnitedPro2010 YouTube channel. There are many other web sources for union information that deal mainly in the written word. One of those sites and perhaps the venerable example is www.labourstart.org.au where you will find links to many other like-minded information outlets.


Workplace rights key to election – Australian public again send message about industrial relations

26 08 2010

22 August, 2010 | Media Release The ACTU today said that Australian people have sent a clear message during this election that their rights at work matter, and they will not support parties that are committed to policies which undermine workers’ pay, conditions and rights.

ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said:

“Our two million union members, and the more than 10 million workers in Australia have succeeded in forcing all major parties in this election to commit to fair work laws.

“We know that WorkChoices was a significant issue in workplaces and in the community and weighed heavily on the public’s mind in the lead up to this election.

“This is the second election in which WorkChoices has been decisively rejected by the Australian public.”

ACTU President Ged Kearney said:

“Whatever party forms Government, the ACTU will continue to advocate for better rights at work on behalf of working Australians and hold the Government to account for its workplace policies.

“Unions remain extremely concerned that to date we have not seen a detailed IR policy from the Coalition.
“There remain major workplace rights, including protection from unfair dismissal, individual contracts and award rates of pay and conditions that are not fully protected by legislation, and which could be eroded by a Coalition Government.

“We are also concerned about the future of superannuation and tax policy, investment in Australian industries and jobs, and the delivery of health and education to working families.

“We respect that votes are still be counted, and await the final outcome of the federal election.”

WorkChoices. Never Again! Abbott Facts

17 08 2010

WorkChoices took away the rights of working Australians.
Todays Liberal leader Tony Abbott was a key Minister in the former Liberal Government that introduced WorkChoices. Now, he wants to bring it back. He just wont call it WorkChoices.

Lest we Forget

17 08 2010

Workers talk about the “sweat blood and tears” fighting for rights at work – the same rights the Howard Government took away with “Work Choices”, the Howard Government’s IR laws.

Tony Abbott muddles message on workplace laws

“Give me a bit of paper, I’ll sign it here,” Mr Abbott said to 3AW host Neil Mitchell as he tried to end questions about John Howard’s divisive workplace laws.

But pressed again by Mitchell, Mr Abbott said: “I can’t give an absolute guarantee about every single aspect of workplace relations.

“Obviously I can’t say that there will never ever ever for 100 or 1000 years time be any change to any aspect of industrial legislation. But the Fair Work Act will not be amended in the next term of government if we are in power.

“But let’s, I mean, Work Choices, it’s dead, it’s buried, it’s cremated now and forever. But obviously I can’t give an absolute guarantee about every single aspect of workplace relations legislation.”

Collective bargaining – it’s good for all of us

17 08 2010

How do nurses achieve better nurse-patient ratios to lift the standard of patient care? How do workers in dangerous industries win tougher safety standards? How do teachers win smaller class sizes to boost students’ ability to learn?
The answer is collective bargaining, and these benefits go hand in hand with better pay, better conditions and the ability to have your say at work — in all industries.

Unions warn of Abbott IR deals

15 08 2010
Josh Gordon

August 15, 2010

Unions have increased their attack on Tony Abbott over industrial relations, accusing him of entering into ”secret deals” with business groups to wind back unfair dismissal laws and reintroduce individual contracts.

Australian Council of Trade Unions chief executive Jeff Lawrence has claimed the Coalition has for months been quietly reassuring business leaders that Labor’s Fair Work Act would be overhauled if it wins the August 21 election – despite opposition claims to the contrary.

”They have explicitly promised to wind back protections from unfair dismissal, reintroduce individual contracts and reduce minimum standards in awards,” Mr Lawrence said.

The move comes as a major study by 30 academics concludes that employers have been the clear winners from a decade and a half of industrial relations changes, including WorkChoices.

The study, co-ordinated by Monash University, has concluded that changes since the Howard government was elected in 1996 have ”contributed to a decisive shift in the balance of power away from employees and institutions protecting them (e.g. tribunals and unions) and towards employers”.

The ACTU has compiled an extensive dossier of quotes from business leaders to make the case that business has a major agenda to ”wind back workers’ rights and hand more power to employers”. It includes demands for lower minimum standards, the removal of redundancy protections, watered down unfair dismissal laws and the reintroduction of individual contracts.

”No doubt big business is expecting a payback from the Liberals if they gain power,” Mr Lawrence said.

Mr Abbott began the election campaign by declaring that WorkChoices was ”dead, buried and cremated”, promising that Labor’s legislation would be left unchanged for three years.

But doubts emerged after opposition industrial relations spokesman Eric Abetz said the Coalition’s policy would involve ”tweaking” the legislation.

The ACTU is claiming that there are 198 ways that the legislation could be watered down through regulations and ministerial powers without actually changing Labor’s legislation.

Amid ongoing concern and a fierce advertising campaign from Labor and unions, the Coalition is expected to release a one-page statement on industrial relations tomorrow reiterating Mr Abbott’s pledge not to change Labor’s Fair Work Act for at least three years.

But the right-wing industrial relations think tank, the HR Nicholls Society, has backed the union claims that major changes to workplace relations could be made without changes to the law.

The Monash report said the industrial relations changes since 1996 had particularly hurt workers with limited bargaining power in low-paid service jobs, as well as young people and workers with English as a second language. These workers had experienced slower wages growth than the national average, bigger workloads and less job security, access to training and flexibility.

Monash professor Richard Mitchell said the study ”unequivocally shows that employers were the clear winners under the Coalition’s employment laws”.

Another contributor to the study from Monash, Dr Anthony Forsyth, said: ”While the Howard government did boost resources devoted to enforcement agencies . . . many long-established employment conditions were eroded during the years of the last federal coalition government.”

High stakes election for workers with up to $150,000 extra in retirement at risk & return of WorkChoices

15 08 2010

In a last ditch attempt to inform voters of the dangers of a return to WorkChoices and a massive cut to their retirement incomes after the election, unions will hold an urgent series of meetings with workers across western Sydney starting today.

The Liberal Party is yet to release either its detailed Industrial Relations Policy or its Superannuation Policy, heightening fears among workers over the security of their jobs and incomes if Tony Abbott is elected, the ACTU says.

Average workers could lose up to $150,000 from their superannuation if there is a change of government says ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence.

“Today I will be meeting with workers in western Sydney who are worried about their jobs and worried about the security of their entitlements and superannuation,” Mr Lawrence said.

“So far, the Liberals have said they will axe the mining tax and with it, Labor’s plan to lift national superannuation from 9% up to 12%.

“Working Australians should be aware that not only would the Coalition bring back the worst aspects of WorkChoices, but it has a track record when it was last in government of preventing workers from having greater financial security in retirement.

“Tony Abbott can’t be trusted on WorkChoices and he also can’t be trusted on superannuation and workers’ entitlements. A re-elected Labor Government will increase national superannuation to 12%, delivering an extra $108,000 in savings for the average 30-year-old worker. Tony Abbott opposes this.

“For a 30-year-old worker on an average wage the new MySuper default superannuation product would lift their retirement savings by $40,000. Together, these changes would deliver an extra $150,000 into the pockets of retired workers.

Mr Lawrence said unions will continue reminding working Australians of Mr Abbott’s record in the Howard Government as one of the strongest supporters of WorkChoices, and his plans to bring back  WorkChoices-style individual contracts and to cut protection from being sacked unfairly.

AWU National Secretary Paul Howes will be joining Jeff Lawrence in a workplace meeting in Ingleburn, south western Sydney today.

Mr Howes said “In difficult economic times we need a government that is committed to workers’ job security. Only one of the political leaders in this election campaign actually believes in good, secure jobs — for the people of today and for the people of tomorrow.

Working families need to know that only Julia Gillard is committed to securing the future of our workplaces by delivering decent jobs and securing workers’ entitlements and better retirement incomes.”

Unions are also preparing a series of newspaper advertisements in NSW marginal electorates to inform workers unable to attend the union meetings (see PDF of media release below) and http://www.superstake.com.au.