||Issue No. 302||07 April 2006|
The Cowra Clause
Interview: Head On
Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
Industrial: Vital Signs
Economics: Taxing Times
Environment: It Ainít Necessarily So
History: Melbourneís Hours
Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
Review: Pollie Fiction
Poetry: The Cabal
The Locker Room
Belly Spreads The Word
Lying Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
It's All Yellow, Mine Barons
The challenge to independent unions was spelled out by one of the loudest voices in the federal government's IR cheer squad, last week.
"If unions want to survive under Workchoices, they are going to have to do some better deals," Australian Mines and Metals NSW manager, Gerard Boyce, told a NSW IR Society seminar in Sydney..
Boyce said if unions didn't start to do "better deals" employers would use the power Workchoices gave them to "limit their exposure".
Boyce told the IR Club the AMMA was "broadly supportive" of Howard's sweeping changes but still wanted more, including the end of "what's left of the award system" and the ability to opt out of the IR system completely.
CFMEU Mining Division secretary, Tony Maher, said nobody should be under any illusion about what the AMMA meant by better deals.
"We have dealt with these people for years and their attitude has always been - there can be a role for unions, as long as they do what we say," Maher said.
"Their preference is to drive unions out, all together, but compliant unions are acceptable.
"They should be supportive of these laws, after all, they wrote most of them."
Maher said, in coal mining, almost every new pit was established with non-negotiable AWAs as a condition of employment but, in nine out of ten, workers still elected to unionise and fight for collective contracts.
The model of the metalliferous sector, where unionisation was low, he said, was a recipe for "workplace disaster". Currently, it runs on long working hours and faces annual employee turnover of 30-50 percent and serious labour supply problems.
Maher said it was "extraordinary" that, in the face of that situation, the AMMA had won over other employers to its hardline agenda.
"It has incredible access to the federal government and has driven the employer agenda to the right," he said. "It is quite surprising that it has shifted groups like AiG (the Australian Industry Group) to become supporters of WorkChoices.
"Basically, WorkChoices was designed by the AMMA."
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