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Big Union Merger Vows To Tackle Wage Theft (Read 51 times)
whiteknight
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Big Union Merger Vows To Tackle Wage Theft
Nov 11th, 2019 at 3:30am
 
Big union merger vows to tackle wage theft, redistribute wealth, shift Labor left

November 9, 2019
Sydney Morning Herald
   

The two unions that have been most active in bringing attention to the epidemic of wage theft in Australia will merge on Monday to form one of the country’s largest unions, and in doing so, potentially shift the Labor Party to the left.

The merger of the National Union of Workers and United Voice will be a bid to "rebuild worker power" in Australia and “change democracy”, according to the new union's national secretary Tim Kennedy.   Smiley


“It is a radical proposal to rebuild worker power in this country where it’s really needed,” Mr Kennedy told union delegates last month. “[To] help rebuild the power of workers not just of our union but of organised labour in this country.”

The merged union will be called the United Workers Union. Its creation as a left-wing union will give that faction of Labor a possible national conference majority for the first time in decades, with the old NUW delegates shifting from the right faction to the left.


The union movement has been in steady decline since the 1980s and in the private sector barely one in 10 workers are now a member.

Among the reasons for the decline are legal and other changes in recent decades that have shifted power to employers. The United Workers Union promises an aggressive industrial approach which could mean more strikes, which are at historic lows.

“The crisis has many parents,” Mr Kennedy said in an interview with The Sunday Age and The Sun-Herald.

“The reality is progressive politics in this country has not been winning debates about collective responses to issues for a long time,” he said.

Mr Kennedy said by winning industrial battles, the UWU could give millions of workers a sense of power and put them “back in the centre of the political contest in this country" and “change the nature of democracy in this country”.   Smiley

He describes inequality as a “cancer” in Australia that diminishes the lives of many and stops them from living “full lives”. Redistribution of wealth “is a key impact we want to have”.

The merged unions have both been heavily involved in campaigning against wage theft in industries such as hospitality, farms and cleaning. Many of the new union’s members are low paid and in insecure work. About a third come from non-English speaking backgrounds.


UWU national secretary Tim Kennedy: “The reality is progressive politics in this country has not been winning debates about collective responses to issues for a long time.

The underpayment of wages has become a major national issue after a string of scandals at big companies such as Woolworths, Bunnings, the ABC, at high-end restaurants and among labourers on farms.   Sad

The Morrison government is moving to toughen penalties for employers and is considering an ACTU proposal to make it easier for underpaid workers to make claims at the Fair Work Commission.


UWU national president Jo-anne Schofield said the scale of the new union, and new structure, would allow it to pursue a positive agenda to grow.

However, unions have struggled to transform widespread public angst around slow wages growth and unlawful wage underpayment into greater membership numbers. The surprise defeat of Bill Shorten’s Labor at this year's election dashed union hopes of more worker-friendly laws.

The new union has also ditched more than a 100 years of union practice in Australia, abolishing the structures of state and federal branches, as part of a radical overhaul.

“That's not the system we are in any more, employers are national, they’re global,” said Jo-anne Schofield, who is the new union’s national president. “It did require a root-and-branch review of what a union for the future might look like.”

Instead of the old structure, the UWU will set up around industries and as a single national union, Ms Schofield said. Its core industry areas include aged care, farms, food and supermarket supply chains. Ms Schofield said the scale of the new union and its new structure would allow it to pursue a positive agenda to grow. “We’ve been in too many fights, too many defensive fights.”

The union movement went through a series of mega-mergers in the 1990s, few of which were successful. Ms Schofield said her old union, the former United Voice, had merged and amalgamated more than 60 times in its history.


RMIT professor of workplace law, Anthony Forsyth, said the merger was “really significant” as it involved “two of the best unions in the country joining together”.

They had been innovative in recruiting migrant and young workers, areas where many other unions had struggled to have a presence.

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juliar
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Re: Big Union Merger Vows To Tackle Wage Theft
Reply #1 - Nov 11th, 2019 at 5:29am
 
The silly old BlackDay has Compulsive Posting Disorder.

He feels a compulsive need to keep re-posting the same silly rubbish about 30 times to try to fill the aching hole in his unwell mind.  Is he going senile ? Is he suffering posting fatigue ?

Or is he just neurotically fearful of his Newstart ?
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juliar
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Re: Big Union Merger Vows To Tackle Wage Theft
Reply #2 - Nov 11th, 2019 at 10:18am
 
Now something interesting which of course is totally foreign to the old boring BlackDay postaholic.

A major factor not talked about is the so called disposition of the ‘Worker’ in modern times.

In wealthy industries like mining and construction, ‘workers’ make as much if not more than their administration and many executive counterparts.

Carpenters on CFMMEU building sites make more than engineers noting that engineers are on salary which is typically fifty hours a week, equaling the overtime factor of so called ‘workers’.

These extortionate salaries are key to why your kids struggle to buy an apartment or house.

The bottom line is, companies and workers via unions are in the same profiteering club.
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