|Issue No 108||24 August 2001|
Entitlements Just Tip of the Iceberg
The protection of workers entitlements through trust funds could provide a model for dealing with the next big challenge for workers - portability of their entitlements, according to the chief of the Manusafe scheme.
Manusafe national executive officer Andrew Whiley has told Workers Online that unions need to look at the idea of rolling all entitlements - from sick leave to annual leave to long service leave - into single industry trust funds.
Under this model, it would be up to individual workers to manage their entitlements and draw from it as they see fit.
"It is up to the labour movement to establish non-profit financial support structures that allow workers to have some kind of real flexibility on their side of the equation," Whiley - on secondment to Manusafe from the Australian Workers Union - says.
"There is a great deal of flexibility for employers now. Why shouldn't there be that increasing flexibility about remuneration?
"Why shouldn't the worker be able to have their own account for sick leave and long service leave and annual leave, or severance pay - and take it with them from job to job?"
Employers Fighting Reality
In an interview with Workers Online, Whiley has also reiterated that there was a standing invitation for employers to join unions in administering the Manusafe scheme.
"A trust fund that operates on open and transparent principles must have a decision making process where everybody that is a stakeholder in one form or another has a seat at the table and has a say," Whiley says.
The Australian Industry Group has launched a mainstream media campaign against Manusafe, with full-page advertisements claiming it will not adequately protect worker entitlements.
Whiley says the big media spend was a sign that the employers are recognising their scare campaign against Manusafe is not working.
"I am not concerned about the heat and light that is coming out of the industrial parties wrestling with each other over this issue," Whiley says. "I am confident in the long term the industry trust fund model has enough positives to it to survive."
Huge Support for Entitlements Push
Meanwhile, it's been revealed that the union push to secure worker entitlements has overwhelming public support with seven out of ten Australian employees saying they should be guaranteed.
The survey of 1000 employees was conducted for Job Futures by the major polling firm of Irving Saulwick & Associates. The JOB futures/Saulwick Employee Sentiment Survey tracks the mood of the Australian workforce on a quarterly basis.
When asked where the money for such a guarantee should come from, nearly half (47 per cent) said it should come from a levy on all employers, and 40 per cent said it should come from the Government's own tax revenue. Only seven per cent said it should come from a levy on wage-earners.
Robert Tickner, Chief Executive of JOB futures, says the results clearly demonstrate that recent cases in which employees have lost their entitlements in company collapses have had a significant impact on employee sentiment across the nation.
In other findings in the report, nearly half the Australian workforce (48 per cent) also said that employees were entitled to re-training and assistance in finding a new job from any money left in the collapsed company. A further quarter of the workforce said this re-training and job assistance should be financed by the Government. A fifth said the employees should pay for it themselves.
For those who are in work, job satisfaction levels continue to be high. One-third (34 per cent) say they are very satisfied with their job, and another 55 per cent say they are reasonably satisfied. These results are consistent with those from the survey conducted in May this year. Only 10 per cent say they are not satisfied.
And an overwhelming majority of employed people - 86 per cent -- say they feel very secure or quite secure in their job. However, casual workers - who tend also to be young - are less likely to say they feel secure (75%).
Employees' sense of job security has remained constant since the previous quarter's survey.
The full survey report will be at http://www.jobfutures.com.au
Interview: The Man from Manusafe
Manusafe chief Andrew Whiley explains why employers have nothing to fear from the entitlements trust fund.
E-Change: 2.4 The Skeptic’s Response
In this round-table discussion, Noel Hester leads the charge against the argument that globalisation and change are inevitable.
Politics: No Hand Idle
Whitlam Institute director Peter Botsman finds much to agree with in John Howard's social coalition for welfare delivery.
Unions: Slavery and Struggle
A battle with all the elements of the infamous waterfront dispute is being played out in Charleston, South Carolina:
International: Postcard from Santiago
The CFMEU's Phil Davey meets up with Communist Party cadres in Chile who led the underground resistance to Pinochet.
History: Race and Australian Labour.
Australian unionists have long been questioning notions of a “White Australia”, even before the colonies united with it as the central feature.
Economics: Global Regulation
Public sector unions from around the globe are taking the first steps to work internationally against the deregulation agenda.
Satire: Niche Identified in Left-Wing Publications Market
A marxist-feminist activist has discovered a gaping hole in the lucrative left-wing publications market.
Review: The Fight for Equal Pay
In this extract from her new book, Zelda D'Aprano looks at the contribution Kath Williams made to the struggle for equality.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005