Australian unions impose sweeping job and pay cuts via “interest-based bargaining”


Australian unions impose sweeping job and pay cuts via “interest-based bargaining”

Mike Head

24 April 2018

Over the past six years, with virtually no publicity, some of Australia’s most prominent trade unions have pioneered a “new cooperative approach” to workplace bargaining to inflict mass retrenchments, wage reductions and the overturning of hard-won conditions on their members.

Supervised by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), established by the last Labor government of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, the “interest-based bargaining” (IBB) system takes to a new level many decades of union collaboration with employers and governments.

The IBB regime has already been used to implement wholesale restructuring, casualisation and the demolition of basic conditions at major workplaces, including Sydney Water, News Corp, Orora Fibre Packaging, Alcoa and Patrick stevedoring.

In the forefront are prominent unions, such as the Australian Services Union (ASU), the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).

Ever since the Keating Labor government and the unions imposed enterprise-by-enterprise bargaining during the early 1990s, unions have used enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs) to split the working class into individual workplaces, suppress most industrial action and subordinate workers to the profit demands of “their” employers.

This corporatist partnership was forged between the unions, governments and the corporate elite through the “Accords” struck by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) with the Hawke Labor government in the 1980s, in order to make Australian capitalism “internationally competitive.”

IBB goes further by junking the previous…

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