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flawed labour market policies « Previous | |Next »
June 14, 2006

The assumption of the Howard Government's WorkChoices legislation is that deregulating labour markets is the way to reduce unemployment. If you cheapen the cost of labour --by reducing the protective work conditions and lowering the wage rate-- then there is more opportunites for business hiring unskilled labour in a growing economy. This implies that a unionised workforce causes unemployment.

But it is not necessarily so. You also need other policies in tandem with making the labor market more flexible so that people can choose the work arrangements that suit them. What is also required are active welfare to work policies designed to encourage claimants to seek and take work; and active labour market policies that skill those seeking to work.

It is the latter that is missing in Australia. The finger can be pointed at both the Howard Government for not addressing the skill shortage and the ALP state government for running down TAFE and making their courses too expensive.

There is no reason why strong trade unions and employment protection laws cannot go hand-in-hand with low levels of unemployment.That is not the nature of the politics being played is it?

The politics is to create the conditions that turn employees into independent contractors that require no holiday pay, no sick leave, and none of a range of other benefits that the union movement has fought for and won over the last hundred years.This is what is meant by the rise of self-employed worker ----the "enterprise worker" or self reliant society as understand by the neo-liberal Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:47 AM | | Comments (0)
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