Its industrial relations. The industrial relations reforms that our wise PM has decided that we need. Aussies, please keep reading, this is something you need to know about. Yes, some of this is my opinion, but mostly its something you need to know (the reforms, not my opinion).
Structure.. damn i need structure to this so you know AND i know what im up to. Let's go with this - a very brief background on our system now. Then I will discuss the reforms (it could get messy from there haha - what do you expect with such huge reforms tho?).
Australia has, since federation, had and IR system based around arbitration and conciliation, where the central body has been the Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC). The AIRC have helped decide our awards, and they have arbitrated and conciliated on workplace conflict. The Labor (left leaning party for the non-aussies) party began some reforms in the 80s and early 90s, where enterprise bargaining and individual contracts were introduced. Enterprise bargaining is basically where enterprises bargain for work conditions - what this created however, was an environment where what was gained by one enterprise ended being obtained by all -pattern bargaining.
The Liberals came into power in 1996 and with them brought the Workplace Relations Act 1996. This introduced AWA's, and they began restricting unions even more - making it alot harder to take legal industrial action. They cut back the awards to 20 allowable matters. They did a number of others i cant remember, or is to minor i dont know.
Right so cut to now. How much do you know about the reforms? Do you know how it could and probably will effect you?
I think what i might do is go through the propaganda, oops i mean the HIGHLY informative booklet, as a guide to the changes. Lets start with a joke shall we? Its called workCHOICES! hahahahha. Thats fucking hilarious. A simpler (uh huh as the 1200 page bill is released, with huge gaps in the legislation where it can just be up to the minister to add whatever is appropraite into regulations - did you know that DOESNT have to go through parliament? Convenient no?), fairer (tell that to the people with little to no bargaining power), national (look out, theyre trying to outsmart the constitution) Workplace Relations System for Australia.
Protected by law is "stamped" all over the booklet. If its already in place, and its STILL going to be protected by law, why the fuck do we need a new beaut system?
Its going to increase productivity. Let me tell you a little something about productivity - there is only so much productivty that can be put out. Unless of course you make it possible for the proletariat (slaves, i mean workers) to work longer hours in a week. Oh wait, they ARE doing that. Silly me. They say that Workchoices will lock in a maxiuum ordinary hours of work of 38 hours per week. It will be possible for ordinary hours to be averaged out over 12 months. What this means is that one week you can work 44 hours, the next only say 20.. and so on. Sounds great you say? Yes, I find working 44 hours (or longer) a week really pleasant. I find the fluctuating nature of my full time work really convenient. I find that what this potentially means is that I have to wait a full 12 MONTHS to get paid my overtime because its worked out over a average of 12 months - gee sounds fairer and simpler to me already Johnnie (we're on first name basis me and Johnnie, we're tight*).
I can taste the marxism already.
Alright, so they keep saying its going to create more employment. You can laugh again if you like - it wouldnt be inappropriate. It is noted, that the one way to increase productivity would be to have more workers. This is what the system is supposed to do because there is a wage cut (but we'd never word it that way). Cheaper employees = MORE employees. HAHAHA, call me a cynic but get fucking real! This would in NO WAY happen on a large scale. The number of employees would stay the same, expected to work at double their actual capacity while the bosses sit up in their offices rolling around in their profits ala Scrooge McDuck style (apart from the smell of all that money, did anybody else wish they could do that too?). Employment will not increase.
I shall now share a secret with you about our employment figures - to be classed as employed, you only had to have worked for ONE, i repeat ONE hour a week. Dont know about you, but I certainly dont call that being employed.
UNFAIR DISMISSAL LAWS
Employment shall also increase because of the exclusion from unfair dismissal laws for companies with less than 100 employees. I heard or read somewhere the other day that about 96% of businesses in Australia have less than 100 employees. Thats a massive number of people now not covered for unfair dismissal. Oh but wait! UnLAWful dismissal , you could still try for unLAWful. Do you realise how hard it is to actually prove unlawful dismissal? LEt's get this straight - under the current system we are covered by unfair (for the most part) and unlawful dismissal, and yet employers STILL disregard this laws. Why? Because people do not know their rights. John Howard is dillusional if he believes thats going to change because >insert big red stamp that says "Protected by Law"<.
He believes that employers do not employ MORE because of the fear of unfair dismissal being brought against them. Here's a novel idea - dont dismiss unfairly you morons. What a joke, most jobs there is a 3 months probationary period, if the manager cant tell a bad employee in that time, then who's a bad manager? Casual (i use the word loosely) workers arent even protected from unfair laws for the first 12 months of working. A staff's incompetencies are bound to show up in that time.
100 employees or less, what's to stop (and its been recognised that its already happening albeit on a small scale) companies from splitting up their larger companies so that they can be covered under 100 employees? Furthermore, companies arent going to employ more than 100 employees anymore - yes increase employment, i seeeeeee.
To sum up that part, all I have to say is New Zealand made huge IR reforms in the late 80s, and they sprouted the same shit as the Aussies are doing now. It didnt happen. Productivity did not increase like woah! It went up maybe 1%. Look out!
FAIR PAY COMMISSION
The Fair Pay Commission (something similar in the UK, the public call it the Low Pay Commission). The people in charge and deciding our "fair pay" are endorsed by the Liberal party. Independent MOTHERS ASS!! Let's not even get into the fact the head guy will also be guided by God in making decisions. Oh, another thing, the current minimum award wage is based on the minimum amount that a man could suitably support himself and his family (ignore the man bit of it). The minimum wage will now be set on what a SINGLE person could support themselves on. Sounds fair to me!
THERE IS NO BALANCE
There are so MANY more aspects to this. I wont go into the union restrictions - except that they are extreme, and that you should remember that if it werent for the unions, you wouldnt have the pay and conditions you do now. The biggest concern for me is the very unbalanced nature of bargaining. Employees and employers are NOT on equal ground. Employers hold much more power. No no says Johnnie, you can just say get stuffed to your possible employer and get a new job. Wow i had no idea it was that simple, thanks for clearing that up. Employees who are going to be screwed by the changes are the non-english speaking, women, teenagers, those that work in retail or hospitality, factories and so on. "Sign the AWA or you lose your job." People are going to sign because they dont know their rights, and cant afford to lose their job (even if they cant afford to sign the AWA). I can not believe the inaction or the Labor Party. The adults in secure jobs are all lalala doesnt affect me. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SHIT YOU WALKING IGNORAMI! Its going to affect your teenage children. $2 an hour at Maccas oh BOY!
Like i said, theres so much more to this, but I wont go on anymore, this is long enough. I hope like christ you finished reading this, because i like to think that the ppl on my friends list are not complacent and selfish and dont give a shit. Cuz you damn well should give a shit. It will effect you.
So in conclusion, Aussies,
Tuesday 15 November is National Day of Action.
There will be something going on in your city. I urge you, unless you have to be a slave to the wage that day, to go and show your support for workers, and your rejection of the reforms. We live in a democratic (i'll let someone else rant about the new anti-terror laws) society, so take advantage.
* one of Johnnie's beloved battlers
EDIT: I realise that some of us are doing exams or assignments still and so the idea of reading this right now makes you want to stab.. well possibly me, if thats the case, than please save this entry and go back to it later. Love you all long time
ps. please pass the date on around to others.
EDIT AGAIN: man this is turning into the longest entry ive ever done. Look Ive even gone and found the info for you where the rallies shall be. http://www.rightsatwork.com.au/campaign