Australia’s working poor: who stands up for them?

Obviously, not the employer organisations:

http://www.workplaceinfo.com.au/payroll/wages-and-salaries/27-a-week-to-avert-working-poor-actu (If the link does not work check the text of this short article below)

Australia’s union movement leads the way.

How to weaken that movement’s effectiveness:

– bring back in a new form anti worker / union member repressive laws – Workchoices Mark 2

– escalate daily propaganda that the union movement a s a whole is corrupt

– give privileged communication rights to white flag union and so-called “labour” leaders – eg Paul Howes, Martin Ferguson

– prevent union achievements from flowing to non organised workers

– promote the myth that only employers have the knowledge and the right to make investment decisions

and so on.

And so we struggle against all of that, right?

If you are fair dinkum against poverty, get on board with this campaign. Anything else will be weasel words.

From Workplace Information, 28/3/14

 The ACTU has called for a $27 a week increase to the minimum wage, calling it “essential if Australia is to avoid creating an underclass of working poor”.

In the next step of its campaign to boost the minimum wage, the union today lodged a submission to the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review, which included a call for a 71c per hour increase from $16.37 per hour to $17.08 per hour.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said: “A $27 per week increase to the minimum wage will ensure the gap between low paid workers and the rest of the workforce does not widen even further. 

“Australians do not want to live in a country of ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ and the only way for low paid workers to keep up is for the Fair Work Commission to approve this increase.

“That’s why the ACTU is demanding the national minimum wage increase to $649.20 a week for Australia’s lowest paid including cleaners, retail and hospitality staff, childcare workers, farm labourers and factory workers.”

 
Employer groups have been more circumspect, with the Australian Industry Group stating in its submission to the wage review that a careful approach was needed “given the adverse economic impacts which would result from an excessive increase”.
 
The Federal Government is yet to comment on the ACTU’s submission. 
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I am a retired left wing and labour movement activist. Before that I worked for a long time in the Australian union movement in union education, Australian and international solidarity and organising. I am also active in Cuban solidarity, the SEARCH FOUNDATION, and promoting discussion, debate and action about green socialism based on workers control and social ownership.

Posted in Australian union movement, Corporate behaviour, Wages
2 comments on “Australia’s working poor: who stands up for them?
  1. Gary says:

    Bravo, Don — spot on. What the employers want is for unions to believe that they must ask for whatever gains they earn. What they don’t understand is that we’re not asking — we’re telling! We will keep up the good fight wherever we are in the world. Remember, union rights are not just about workers’ rights — they are about human rights, and have always represented a fight against abject poverty and about workers knowing the worth and value of their work.

    • Unions are their members. Assertive, mindfully militant unionism depends in the end on how much it is embraced by workers before they join, as they join and after they have joined. I have not yet met a union member who wanted me to be a soft, employer-sympathetic representative, but I know also they expect me to be smart, seek their ideas, to listen carefully to them, show respect for their ideas, to recommend ideas for them to chew over. To explain what is happening and cut the bullshit.

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