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  Issue No 43 Official Organ of LaborNet 24 February 2000  




Letters to the Editor

Just a Suggestion!

Coming from a medium to large corporate background, I have two main areas of concern:

1. The general trend whereby more and more business risks are being inappropriately transferred from investors to workers. The whole point of investment is supposed to revolve around the "risk-return trade-off" concept. However, as investors appear to be demanding more and more stable returns on investment, management appear to be transferring more and more business risks onto those who can least afford to take on those business risks eg pushing workers into becoming independent contractors and thereby transferring business risks such as insurance, regular wage/salary payments, general workers' entitlements etc onto the worker who is least able to afford these risks given a new environment of fluctuating income with additional outgoing costs (ie insurance premiums, no leave entitlements etc). Secondly, the current push for more flexible pay arrangements, especially those tied to the fortunes of the company so that if profitability declines, workers' wages/salaries also decline! And so on.

2. Whilst all of the above is occurring, the salaries of Senior Executives, and in particular, CEO's MD's and Board Members keep escalating. It is ludicrous that these people virtually have carte blanche to determine their own salaries and pay increases. Theoretically, shareholders have the final say in approving/disapproving of proposed salaries and pay increases for this group of people, however, in reality, the shareholders' power to disapprove is rarely exercised.

Consequently, in light of the above two areas of concern, I suggest that one way by which workers can regain power in the work equation is by uniting and establishing a large unit fund (or other such appropriate fund structure) with a view to buying shares in many companies. The aim would be to become a large fund with clout and voting power to beat senior management at their own game whilst also putting profits back into workers hands. I would suggest a two-pronged approach:

1. Establish a workers fund (ie all workers from all unions)with workers to contribute on a weekly/fortnightly etc basis.

2. Use the idea of the fund to assist in going on a large union membership recruitment drive with the aim of delivering power & profits back to the workers.

Just a suggestion!



*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 43 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Parting Gestures
Outgoing ACTU president Jennie George looks back on her time at the helm and charts some challenges for young women in the union movement.
*  Unions: While We Were Sleeping
It’s been a long hot summer for Australian workers - from the showdown in the Pilbara to the victorious National Textile workers. We look at the stories Workers Online missed while we were in the banana chair.
*  Media: Freudian Slips
The coverage of Jennie George’s final days as ACTU President were a case study in the art of psycho-tabloid.
*  Legal: Cookies’ Fortune
The breakaway union led by a man personally backed by the Prime Minister has been refused registration in a ruling that raises questions over the whole enterprise.
*  Politics: True Deceivers
In his controversial new book, Andrew Scott argues that Labor's rhetoric has outstripped its achievements.
*  Review: Rebel With a Cause
A new Michael Moore has emerged at the frontline of subversive television. His technique? Combining organising with silly suits.
*  Satire: Victorian ALP shock: "Apparently We're in Power!"
A recent survey conducted by the Victorian State ALP has revealed that the party is in government.
*  International: Right Hand Drive
The rise of the extreme Right in Austria carries some important lessons for our own society.

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