|Issue No 84||16 February 2001|
Union Members Tell Scabs: Sing for Your Supper
Trade unions are being inundated with calls from members demanding they levy fees against non-members freeloading on their work.
The state branch of one union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, will next week vote on making service fees in all enterprise agreements union policy.
And Workers Online understands that a major entertainment employer covering several hundred employees will be hit by a service fee claim as early as next week
MEAA state secretary Michel Hryce says the service fee push, following last week's ruling in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, is being driven entirely from the grass roots.
"We've had a lot of members for a long time pissed off about non-members bludging on the union for a long time," Hryce says. "This decision has provided the trigger for a lot of that anger."
MEAA performers delegate Jonathon Mill, who will move the motion, says he's confident the move will be supported across most parts of the entertainment industry.
"While performers and theatrical workers might be regarded as individualistic, the reality is they work as a team and rely their colleagues to pull their wait," Mill says.
"This is precisely what the freeloader issue is all about."
Get Ready for a Wave of Activity
NSW Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says a test case in the NSW jurisdiction over the issue is inevitable, but has called on the Carr Government to remove any possible legal ambiguities.
"We believe service fees will be held valid in NSW but we want to see them explicitly so under NSW law," Costa says.
The service fee proposal is classic user-pays economics," Costa says. "Why should people who refuse to contribute to the union benefit form the work of officials, delegates and activists in securing a pay rise?"
"For free-loaders to argue they are exercising their freedom not to join a union is to cloud the issue.
"There is no 'freedom' not to pay taxation', there is no 'freedom' not to pay council rates and nor should there be a 'freedom' to benefit from pay rises and improved conditions without contributing to the costs involved."
"The service fee would only be imposed by the majority agreement of workers at a workplace and relate directly to the term of the industrial agreement.
The service fee proposal, which has been before the Carr Government for several years, is one of a series of outstanding industrial issues in NSW: these include email privacy protection, rights for casuals and increased protection for outworkers.
Interview: Life After Wartime
After ten years representing the interests of the labour movement in Parliament, Jeff Shaw is back at the bar. And loving it.
Legal: Why the Freeloaders Should Pay
Michael Costa explains why service fees are not only fair - they are economically rational.
Organising: Young Activists Bask in Union Summer
Sydney students have spent three weeks of their summer holidays experiencing on-the-ground work with unions.
Unions: Things Are Looking Up On The Dock
After six years as a call centre worker, Marios Ellas has joined the union movement. Here's his first impressions.
History: Trades Hall – The Royal Connection
Republic, who needs it when we have the Trades Hall decreed by Royal Imprimatur? So tug your forelock as work commences to restore the building.
International: Greetings from Hong Kong
Chan Wai-Keung from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions outlined the challenges facing Hong Kong workers.
Politics: One Nation - The Old Labor Link
The resurgence in One Nation in the WA election has the pundits again reaching for the tea-leaves. But are they pouring from the wrong pot?
Review: Elect the Ambassador
Labor frontbencher Duncan Kerr unveils his vision for a new international democracy.
Satire: Man Buys Big Issue for the Articles
A Melbourne businessman claims his recent purchase of the "Big Issue" was due to his interest in the magazine's editorial content.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005