Higher wages for ordinary Australians? Liberals say it must be stopped

Like with the anti-discrimination laws, Labor’s attempt to be fair to the other side when undoing WorkChoices (the Fair Work Act still being heavily biased towards employers) still isn’t enough:

VICTORIAN Liberal Josh Frydenberg has called on employers, workers and industry groups to speak out for reform of Labor’s industrial relations laws…

And what are the Liberals most disturbed about?

Mr Frydenberg said yesterday that while WorkChoices was dead, the Coalition remained committed to flexibility in the workplace and real productivity gains. The Coalition had said Labor’s Fair Work Act deserved a fair go. ”So far the fair go seems to be taking our economy in only one direction – higher wages and lower productivity,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Higher wages?! For ordinary people?!

He told Parliament there were now graphic examples of emboldened unions striking unsustainable wage rises, as labour costs and union power increased.

HIGHER WAGES?!!?!?!!

This must be STOPPED.

Not for CEOs, obviously, the Liberals don’t care how much executives pay each other – no, they mean that it’s time somebody stood up against YOUR wages increasing. After all, all you’re going to do is spend it on goods where it helps the Australian economy, you PARASITES. Why should you keep up with the massively inflating salaries at the top? What, the gap between rich and poor isn’t going to widen as quickly or as dramatically? How is that a good thing?

Ugh.

Higher wages for ordinary working Australians?

The Coalition says NO.

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9 responses to “Higher wages for ordinary Australians? Liberals say it must be stopped

  1. How many workers out there believe that the workforce is too rigid?

    How many have jobs that are permanent. How many are employed casuals or as contractors?

    How many are on less than an hour notice and can be sent home at any time?

  2. jordanrastrick

    The thing about the casualisation of the workforce is that its often against the long term interests of employers. Short sighted HR types think they are gaining valuable flexibility, only to be disappointed that it cuts both ways – “Why can’t we ever retain staff? Why won’t you all come in and work extra when we need you to?” etc. Smart employers don’t undermine the job security of the people who are critical to their workplace.

    How many workers out there believe that the workforce is too rigid?

    I do. In my previous major job, there were often situations where we had to do something to comply with the IR that was disadvantageous to both staff and management – e.g. to do with timing of breaks, or the length of shifts. On the other hand, rules were grossly deficient in areas I thought needed tighter restrictions – for instance the minimum required gap between shifts for staff with hazardous jobs (such as operating heavy machinery) seemed far too short.

    New EBA discussions, which occured not long after I left, were a farce.

    EBAs should be the preferred model over both individual contracts and awards – they strike the right balance for most workplaces – but they must be easier to negotiate, particularly for employees. Individual contracts should be permitted; however EBAs should be expressed in terms of changes to the standard industry award, and likewise individual contracts should be expressed in terms of changes to the EBA, and employees should always have an option of switching to the latter. This would give plenty of flexibility to all parties while mitigating the asymmetric bargaining power of firms, allowing employees to clearly understand if they are losing out under an arrangement and giving them the right of veto (as opposed to having some centralised body adjudicate what counts as a disadvanatge.)

    He told Parliament there were now graphic examples of emboldened unions striking unsustainable wage rises

    In those cases where wage rises are unsustainable, unions will eventually learn the hard way. Qantas seems like it might become a case in point if the two sides can’t come to common ground.

  3. We’ll all be rooned I tell ya rooned. The workers will want money for luxuries like food and clothes next. The liberals against workers getting higher wages what’s new? They have always been against higher wages.

    Not once, have they agreed with a national wage rise, not once. The Liberal party have always been anti wage rises for workers, if they had their way we would still have children in mines. I will go to my grave never understanding that dumb working class schmucks have and will always support these toe rags, toe rags that would see the poor and sick starve if there was no opposition to their bastardy.

    I remember when the forty hour week and getting four weeks annual leave was going to ruin the country. The Liberal party in the late fifties and sixties used the most subtle propaganda known to man, the fear campaign. They told us we would all lose our and Australia would go bankrupt. It worked then, it’s working now with the carbon tax.

  4. narcoticmusing

    I will go to my grave never understanding that dumb working class schmucks have and will always support these toe rags,
    This completely baffles me too. I know people who in the same breath bitch about poor working conditions or worse, low centerlink benefits, and simultaneously insist on voting Liberal. It boggles the mind.

    I will start with the disclaimer that I agree with a wage rise, particularly in the services identified in the current fair work claim. But there are a few factors that need to be considered.

    Nevertheless, there are some sectors, particularly non-for-profit sectors, who have financial constraints (eg efficient price models) due to the theories of output and outcome funding rather than input funding. This means, increasing their wages, will lead to job losses, particularly if the capacity to raise more revenue is inadequate. The market has ways to raise more revenue (such as passing the cost onto the consumer, using their grunt to get better lease arrangements etc). But PBIs for example, have no such capacity or grunt.

    For eg. State funded, not-for-profit service sectors. The current commitments by state governments for the fair wages ruling will likely be grossly inadequate to cover the wage costs, but this wasn’t from the commitments being disingenuous. Regardless of good intention, the Governments are unlikely to be able to get more without cutting something elsewhere. The state government purses are stretched with service provision and need to also be able to divert funds to capital. Their capacity to raise revenue is very restricted. And we all know the feds have their heads up their asses – they’ve never managed to do anything constructive when it comes to service delivery. The purse is always smaller than the demand on it, and with the taxation setup in this country, states are kneecapped before they start.

    We also overlook the salary packaging benefits awarded to PBIs and charities that constitute real financial gains (eg. paying off your mortgage, i’m not just talking some company car) with aid of the taxation system (which provides generous exemptions for charities/PBIs/Health services). So any wage increase should consider this, lest we price the wages out of the capacity to pay.

  5. “This completely baffles me too. I know people who in the same breath bitch about poor working conditions or worse, low centerlink benefits, and simultaneously insist on voting Liberal. It boggles the mind.”

    Indeed my own conclusion is, the government of Menzies was very successful with its “Reds under the beds” fear campaigns that I still remember. It has successfully brainwashed a whole generation of people who actually bought the bullshit, especially in some migrant communities that came from communist and fascist countries. No more is this more visible than in the conservative poster children like Howard/ Abbott. Who the latter incidentally is in a position to send Australia back fifty years. The remnants of these years can be seen in the comments of people like SB. who really does believe his own rhetoric.

    But as for wage rises. I have yet to see a business or charity go under because of excessive wage claims. They will tell you different but the reality is, the union movement is not in the business of sending its members business’s broke. When a business is paying its CEO’S telephone numbers and then blaming the workers, well obviously some buy it, I won’t and don’t

  6. narcoticmusing

    But that is not the case in not-for-profits – they aren’t trying to screw over their workforce, particularly the PBIs. Their execs don’t have huge salaries… Not ever employer is the same.

    As for Howard – the Aussie battler win was the biggest win for misrepresentation and deception in eons.

  7. ” Not ever employer is the same.”

    Obviously. Each business should be treated on its own peculiar circumstance. Some business’s run a tight budget. I should know, I ran one for years, am retired thank Christ. But we are talking in general here No? You can’t have a wage system that is based on the lowest common denominator..

    As for Howard and the Aussie battler. A very clever deception, and I give credit where it is due. He had good advisor’s to be sure. He knew which buttons to push in the Australian electorate as does Abbott. No more is this more clear than in the boat people debate, he plays to the rednecks, and they follow him like sheep in a coma. The carbon tax is another policy he is making mileage on.

    As for Gillard she would no doubt like to see anti discrimination for gays in total but she knows in those flats in the western suburbs of Sydney lie the rednecks. Of course it is only an example of the reality. As an aside Gillard is finished. The pay rises,social change, moral issues lie for the moment with the conservatives, they are winning by stealth.

  8. narcoticmusing

    Agreed, in general… although I was generalising about the fair work claim which is represented primarily by the social services sector which are primarily not-for-profit, govt funded and PBIs… that being said, totally agree with your points :)

  9. I refer you to my latest blog post where I discuss the campaign by the Right to wind back even the paltry conditions of the General Retail Industry Award.

    http://aussieunionist.blogspot.com/2011/06/so-whats-gotten-me-on-here-again.html

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