Tuesday, October 24, 2006

There is a U in Union.

Hi guys,

Just received word from my mate Greg at Rights At Work. Thought I'd pass on this message of unity and solidarity. Willum, I think you especially should be getting in on some union action - cover your arse, boyo. Spread the word, call the number, help stick the new IR laws back where they belong.

It's never been easier to join a union at this critical time

Dear All,

The November 30 nationwide rally against the IR laws is just over a month away. Two things will strike fear into the heart of the Howard Government: a huge turnout for November 30, and the continued rapid growth of the union movement.

John Howard's new IR laws have seen Australian workers turn to unions in unprecedented numbers. Last year the ABS reported a 4% growth in union membership, an increase of 70,000 new members. This week, we are launching a simple, but radical, new scheme that means it has never been easier to join a union.

Unions Australia makes it easy to find the union that's right for you. Starting today, one phone number is all you need to call to join your union. Call 1300 486 466 to join Unions Australia today.

You have been active in the Rights at Work campaign. Joining a union is the natural extension of your fight for rights at work and the values that we hold dear. It's not just seeking to protect hard-won conditions like penalty rates and public holidays. In this regard, the ABS statistics speak for themselves – union members earn on average $118 a week more than non-union employees. Joining a union is also about bolstering the Australian way of life: time with family, job security, a safety net for all Australians.

I've been active in the union movement for twenty years, and I can assure you that when you join a union, you don't just receive information, advice and support when you need it - you are playing a vital role in a movement for change.

All Australian workers have the right to join a union. Whether you work in a large or small business, in an office or on a construction site - there is a union that can represent you. We also have a special supporters' membership for retirees, and those who own a business or are currently not working.

If you are already a union member, I am looking to you to help build the movement and spread the word about Unions Australia. Please pass this email on to your friends to let them know about our new, simplified joining procedure. I am keen to hear your thoughts on Unions Australia, so feel free to get back to me with your comments.

I am very proud to be launching Unions Australia this week. We have created this initiative in response to the success of the Rights at Work campaign. This success is due in large part to the hard work and dedication of supporters like you.

Once again, many thanks for your support,

Greg Combet
Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting article...if only it had a basis in fact.

Unfortunately union membership has been continually dropping for the past 20 years. Even with the inception of the new Work choices legislation earlier on in the year membership continues to fall.

Don’t get me wrong, on many levels I disagree with the new laws. In one respect they provide a short term and temporary solution for certain industries (manufacturing in particular) which, unless the basic wage is dropped to around $2 an hour, will prove ultimately unsuccessful leaving people worse off then ever. however, can you blame a business for taking advantage of the laws?
On the other hand, given Australians semi-unique position as a highly skilled workforce with basically too many jobs than people to fill them. Business will have to be considerate of the skill shortage and look after there employees accordingly. The laws DO give greater options in this sense. So basically people with a degree and specialised skills are better off under this system. The legislation appeals to the median as apposed to the outlier.

Have you ever…EVER known any government to repeal power? Nope, never! I guarantee you whoever gets in wont take the laws away. Sure maybe modify them slightly but by and large they will reman serving the same function. The unions need to look at who are they are serving? There own outdated ideals? Or the best interests of their members? There’s a reason union membership is at 12% average or less for most industries.

finally, Eug, who should I or most of the people who read this blog watch my back? Heck most of us are Workchoices pin up kids! Young, educated, skilled, middle calss and in Australia. Ching ching! Im not a pro-howard as im sure you know. But I am pragmatic and a realist. And the reality is that these laws are here to stay.


P.S i am a member of a union.

26/10/06 19:36  
Anonymous Hooch said...

Humph. Said the camel.

Sure maybe modify them slightly
- you mean like, make it not illegal to consult a union if you are unfairly dismissed?
- or perhaps you mean reinstate the measures to ensure min. wage earners are protected from things like inflation by having the min. wage adjusted accordingly?

Bring on 'slight modification', I say.

We shouldn't dismiss the laws and not worry about them simply because businesses are currently forced to look after us workchoices pinup kids because of a skills shortage. Besides, not everyone's so pinuppable as we sweet things. All workers should be protected. What about people who don't have degrees? - You can't just keep unskilled workers out of the equation because you're not one. What about if times change and there's no longer a skill shortage? - Where will we be-degree-ed folk be then?

Advocating change, however small, has got to be better than submission to and acceptance of a short term and temporary solution for certain industries...which...will prove ultimately unsuccessful leaving people worse off th[a]n ever.

26/10/06 21:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And i rebut...

- "you mean like, make it not illegal to consult a union if you are unfairly dismissed?"

It isn’t illegal, check the legislation.

- "or perhaps you mean reinstate the measures to ensure min. wage earners are protected from things like inflation by having the min. wage adjusted accordingly?"

The measures are still there and were adjusted yesterday infact. and extra 27.50 for wage under $700 a week, and an extra $22 for those over $700 a week. a significant rise.

Im not submitting to acceptance, im just highlighting the fact that no government who gets in will repeal the laws through choice. and protesting off the back of a week, disorganised, ineffective, purly responsive with no strategy labour party is just a slap in the face for workers.
If the union actually got of their arse 5-10 years ago this wouldent have happened, through all the muscle flexing, bravado and personal agendas they lost the message of they people they were in place to represent. As such, they lost respect leading to dwindling membership. I think that at the core of the issue there should be less finger pointing by the unions and a little more PROactive work. “join a union! its great and shit, and we fight for your rights and stuff. we don’t really know how to do it because its not the 1920s anymore but fuck it we will just blame whatever government is in!!” doesn’t work.


27/10/06 00:27  

Post a Comment

<< Home