With a raft of new policy measures on the table at the conclusion of the ALP conference in Adelaide, it is increasingly clear that Labor’s industrial relations reforms will benefit unions not workers.
The crux of the matter is wage growth.
In a delusion of grandeur, ACTU boss Sally McManus said the following about the role unions play in the economy:
‘The union movement is the early warning sign for this country . . .We are the earthquake sensors in the ocean that feel the tremors before they reach the shores, the siren that wakes you up before it’s too late.’
Amongst this fountain of hogwash a few points need to be made.
Labor’s plan is to twist the economy’s arm by mandating pay-rises via multi-employer bargaining.
Along with this plan, is a proposal to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and Registered Organisations Commission — essentially giving carte-blanche to the CFMEU (which frequently engages in thuggery) and the rest of the trade union cohort.
These are not the industrial relations reforms we need.
Massive underemployment a problem
At a time when 8.3% of the total labour force is underemployed, giving unions more leverage will strangle a fragile economy.
By kowtowing to the unions, Labor has affirmed that it is actually for the few, not the many.
Remembering that only 15% of Australian workers are members of a union today, the real problem with wage growth can be tied back to Labor policies.
An artificially high minimum wage has encouraged a black labour market.
By one estimate, the informal economy makes up to 15% of Australia’s GDP and costs the government $3.3 billion in lost revenue.
With such staggering numbers at play, removing flexibility in the labour market via strong-arm tactics is a policy position that will ultimately fail and do further harm to our economy.
If you believe Labor’s fantasy economics, Australia’s economy exists in a vacuum and can be bullied into submission. It’s as if Australia has no competitors and the global economy is nonexistent.
Markets set wages, not politicians.