Back in Melbourne: Australia Day weekend 2015 and wounded Abbott in trouble, the corporates attack and the labour movement responds.
Update: Neman gone: Abbott to go
‘Just 16 months after being elected prime minister, Tony Abbott faces hostility on all fronts, but the greatest threat lurks within his own party.
The danger for the Prime Minister is that the electorate – like a number of his Coalition colleagues who I have spoken to over the past week – have simply made up their mind.’
Bishop PM and Turnbull Deputy is the talk, says Steve Lewis.(This is before Knighting Prince Philip!).
I argue that many in our corporate 1% want a “strong” Government so back Morrison for PM.
We shall see as their crisis in political legitimacy deepens.
Bernard Keane: Abbott to go sooner than expected
Update: LNP trails in eight out of 11 marginals
The unions and labour movement step up opposition to the Government. Fight for your rights by marching on March 4th – see your union for details.
We can develop support across the broad working class for the many campaigns struggling to reverse the corporate class attacks of the 1% against the 99%.
Ged Kearney ACTU President in “The fight ahead of us for 2015” reminds us of the corporates agenda in the Abbott Audit Commission and that working people want Whitlamism – that is worth fighting for.
From VTHC Luke Hilakari
Surprising absolutely no-one, Tony Abbott has announced a sweeping review of the laws protecting our working conditions.
According to the Government documents accidentally uploaded yesterday, Tony Abbott’s coming after…
• your penalty rates
• the minimum wage
• unfair dismissal protections
• protections from bullying
• your working conditions
• your union rights
It’s not a surprise to us that Tony Abbott’s come after our working rights. So Tony Abbott shouldn’t be surprised that union members & our supporters will fight this agenda.
We won’t know the full details of Abbott’s changes for months, as employer lobbyists and big business is still drawing up a wish list to present to the “WorkChoices Commission”.
But we know that when the changes do come, we won’t have much time to stop them. That’s why we need to build our campaign NOW.
We need everyone to sign up to to the campaign, to get the word out to our friends and neighbours about what’s coming.
We know that to beat this attack we have to act together.
Australia’s federal government has made a major political error, possibly terminal, in asking the Productivity Commission (PC) to inquire into industrial relations.
‘Before the 2013 election, the strategy of the Coalition appeared to be to say as little as possible, especially about industrial relations. It would then go to the 2016 election, bolstered by the “sophomore surge” of new members building their personal support, and seek a mandate for a bold plan, to get an otherwise “once in a generation” reform through the parliament. This would follow the model of John Howard’s 1998 electoral success with the goods and services tax after promising, some time before the 1996 election, to “never, ever” introduce one.
While some IR changes were foreshadowed in 2013 and have yet to make it through the parliament, the key part of this strategy involved setting up a promised PC inquiry. The expectation was it would make recommendations for “bold” changes for which the Coalition sought justification. The Coalition could pick and choose those recommendations it wished to pursue. The PC could be relied upon to make bold (some would say, “politically correct”) recommendations, as it is seen as a body of overwhelmingly liberal market economists.
The Productivity Commission and IR
Indeed, the IR issues papers released last week show the PC adopting a very broad-ranging approach to the topic, consistent with ultimately making “once in a generation” recommendations.
The PC is challenging some issues, such as the distinction between competition law and IR law, that are fundamental to the nature of IR and to the concept, underpinning IR law, of achieving some sort of balance of power in the workplace.
Read all here by David Peetz
‘WorkChoices 2.0’: Unions vow to mobilise over sweeping workplace review
‘The Productivity Commission inquiry will be the blueprint for the Abbott Government’s future plans to bring in WorkChoices Mark II.
This is typical of the Abbott Government’s strategy of using an inquiry or review as a smoke screen to advance its agenda. They did the same thing with the Commission of Audit.’
Productivity Commission Issues paper – please study
Please distribute this video on fighting for penalty rights: Daniel’s story
Penalty rates, the minimum wage and the workplace flexibility of 11.5 million Australian workers will come under the microscope in a sweeping review of the industrial relations system.
Defend our minimum wage, the highest in the world!
Solidarity with workers in all countries struggling and striking for higher minimum wages.
United Voice represents many low paid workers whose workplace interests are are severe and constant attack by employers and the LNP government.
UV Vic against GST on fresh food is another campaign
The Abbott government agenda in 2015 is clear for all to see and workers are the target.
The Coalition has assured the Australian electorate it won’t change the industrial relations
landscape until it has secured a mandate to do so. But this hasn’t stopped them initiating
several labour market changes.(see before on this blog).
They’re using Free-Trade agreements to get around this. The South Korean Free-Trade
Agreement removes labour market testing. We haven’t seen the China Free-Trade Agreement
but we’re betting the same deal has been done.
Now Peter Dutton’s department is consulting stakeholders with a plan to introduce a
“short term mobility” visa for skilled workers. This visa has no minimum language
proficiency requirements nor requires compliance with 457 visa employment standards.
The message from the Abbott government to workers is clear: we won’t introduce
Workchoices 2.0 yet.
But in the meantime he’ll erode wages and conditions through liberalising
our temporary migration program.
The Aussie Work Aussie Rights team has been criticised by the Abbott government for
shinning a light on the exploitation but they keep saying rorting isn’t widespread.
international students are being exploited in workplaces across Sydney, paid as little as
$8 an hour by employers who take advantage of their desperate need for work.
…nearly 30 foreign workers at a company on the New South Wales South Coast
are earning under $4 an hour and are living in squalid conditions.
Launceston takeaway restaurant having been fined $100,000 for
underpaying a Chinese chef and creating false wage records.
The Abbott government will use the Productivity Commission review to fundamentally
change pay and conditions for workers.
Although key sectors of unionised workers gained slightly in enterprise bargaining,
overall real wages began to fall for the first time in decades. The LNP also stopped increases to superannuation,
which helps make sure all Australians can retire in dignity not poverty.
(see attack on your Superannuation in story below).
What can you do to help? Stories:
We need to tell the media of the exploitation and the rorts. Have you missed out on a job
to someone of a temporary visa? Do you know someone being exploited but too
scared to speak up? Do you suspect an employer is rorting the system? Tell us.
Aussie Work, Aussie Rights
Please distribute this on-line Aussie Work Aussie Rights campaign
The ALP on-line: please sign this petition
Opposition Workplace Relations Brendan O’Connor:
“The Prime Minister said that WorkChoices was dead, buried and cremated. Clearly it was only sedated and the sedative has now worn off.
The Abbott Government’s review of workplace laws will open up the examination of penalty rates, the spread of hours worked, and the minimum wage.
Why would you be having a review unless you want to see fundamental change?
WorkChoices is on its way back under the Abbott Government.”
As unions have argued WorkChoices was not repealed and with one example has retained restrictions on strikes, so a question to be debated is improving labour law for workers, such as a right to strike without penalties.
ACTU to Abetz: Stop the Bills!
Thursday, January 22, 2015, from Workplace Express
‘…the ACTU has told Employment Minister Eric Abetz he should suspend his IR legislative agenda for at least a year to enable the Heydon trade union inquiry and the Productivity Commission Fair Work Act review to run their course.
ACTU Dave Oliver asked Abetz to withdraw two bills containing amendments to the Fair Work Act, the bill to re-establish the ABCC and another proposing stricter regulation of unions.
“We make this request based on the multiple, overlapping and ongoing inquiries the Government has commissioned which go directly to the subject matter of the Bills. We refer in particular to the Heydon Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission Review of the Workplace Relations Framework and the continuing review of Competition Law and the Australian Law Reform Commission ‘Freedoms Inquiry’ which also go to workplace relations matters.”
But Senator Abetz …said no.
Oliver noted that in his interim report Royal Heydon declined to make any recommendations for legislative reform, determining that it would be preferable to hold off until his final report at the end of 2015.
“It is preposterous to think that the Parliament is in a better position to give due consideration to the effectiveness of these Bills than a Royal Commission established for that precise purpose.”…
The ACTU wants ditched the Fair Work Amendment (Bargaining Processes) Bill and now the subject of a Senate inquiry which will deliver its report by March 25.
• the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2014 but not debated in the Senate;
• the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014, introduced on June 19 last year after the Senate blocked an earlier version, passed by the House on July 17 but also not debated by the upper house since then;
• the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, which has been stalled in the Senate for nearly a year.
Read earlier Building Industry arguments on this blog – put in ABCC.
Federal Parliament resumes on February 9.
Keane in Crikey has another view – time for ir reform advocates to put up or shut up.
Workers Superannuation Industry funds are under attack by Abbott/Hockey for the banks.
“If the employer associations and financial institutions get their way, the management of industry funds will be debilitated by onerous and incomparable governance requirements, while banks reap the rewards of again being default super funds.
It will not only benefit the big banks, but also those invested in the ideological war against trade unions.
The only people who don’t appear to benefit from these changes are employees, who are supposed to be the benefactors of the superannuation system and to whom only industry funds are answerable.”
The background is vital reading.Campaigning for improved retirement is critical.
See my earlier urging of reviving the strike weapon as a key means to defend and advance our interests
Earlier I posted this review of US unions
Class struggle unionism