The Murdoch press with its flagship newspaper in Australia , The Australian, has launched the first shot in the war on workers for 2014.
The attack came in the form of an opinion piece published at 12:00am 31 December 2013. Readers would remember that Real News One did an article on this very issue a few days back titled “AUSTRALIAN WORKERS UNDER ATTACK LED BY CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENTS AND RIGHT-WING PRESS, UNIONS THE ONLY FORM OF PROTECTION”
This ridicules opinion piece of propaganda begins with the author complaining that people, maybe the author themselves, couldn’t find a place to eat out at on Christmas Day or Boxing Day because most of the restaurants were closed. They go on to say that many close for religious reasons or public holidays but the real reason is those penalty rates negotiated by unions and put in place by the Fair Work Act. The reality is who wants to work on these days when they want to be with their families. At the end of the day it is the employer who decides to open or not and in most cases they themselves want to be with their families on those days as well.
They go on in their tripe, that it shouldn’t be industrial laws that dictate what happens in the workplace and industrial relations it should be the business, it should be their prerogative. In other words your employer should tell you when a how you work and how much you get paid.
The greatest insult in the piece on workers is the attack on Judge Henry Bournes Higgins’s Harvester judgment of 1907, that the judgement was a great burden on businesses. Judge Henry Bournes Higgins’s Harvester judgment of 1907 stated that a worker should be paid enough so that they can comfortably look after their family, back in those days a family was a wife and children, usually numbering 5 or more people . Read in between the lines – according to the Murdoch press, it is a burden on the employer that you and your family should have a comfortable life above the poverty line. The piece goes on to say that this burden and our industrial relations laws lead to high unemployment by quoting John Maynard Keynes.
After attacking the worker and their wages which is a burden to the employer. The next attack is on the unions. Accusing unions of unrealistic demands.
In reality the demands that unions make are that workers should have good working conditions, job security and to be respected by the employer and wage increases should be inline with inflation. If these are unrealistic demands, well this is a strange world we live in.
The insults continue with an attack on the National Employment Standards that ensure the workplace is fair and that workers have a safety net to fall back on if they need it. The standards are :
- Fair Work Information Statement – employers have to give the Fair Work Information Statement to all new employees.
- Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
- Requests for flexible working arrangements – parents and carers can ask for a change in working arrangements to care for young children under school age or children under 18 with a disability.
- Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave, the right to ask for an extra 12 months unpaid leave and other types of maternity, paternity and adoption leave.
- Annual leave – 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an extra week for some shift workers.
- Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave – 10 days paid personal (sick) / carer’s leave, 2 days unpaid carer’s leave and 2 days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as needed.
- Community service leave – up to 10 days paid leave for jury service (after 10 days is unpaid) and unpaid leave for voluntary emergency work.
- Long service leave – entitlements are carried over from pre-modern awards or from state legislation.
- Public holidays – paid days off on public holidays unless it’s reasonable to ask the employee to work.
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to 4 weeks’ notice of termination (plus an extra week if the employee is over 45 and has been in the job for at least 2 years) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay.
The opinion piece then goes on to say that if companies go along with unions and their requests at the bargaining table they are cowards. Read in between the lines, employers should fight any initiative that would improve working conditions and the lives of their employees.
The finale attack in the pice is on the minimum wage. It mentions “Ross Garnaut pointed out earlier this year, Australia’s minimum wage, at $16.37 an hour, is twice the level it is in the US and 1 1/2 times those of European nations”. Ross Garnout forgot to mention that a lot of people who earn the minimum wage in the United Staes still live below the poverty line and struggle to survive.
One thing is for sure, Unions and their members have fought long and hard to give all Australians a decent, liveable and fair industrial relations system as well as fair liveable wages and good work place conditions.
Real News One will always support unions and their members and be a mouth piece for them.