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class conflict « Previous | |Next »
August 4, 2012

Big Business sure is going on and on about industrial relations, declining productivity and the Fair Work Act. It's the Gillard Government's fault. The ALP is refusing to change the regulations to increase company profits, reduce wages and decrease union power. It is the ALP that is responsible for the old culture of conflict and class division.

RoweDFairWork.jpg David Rowe

An editorial in the AFR spells it out:

Australia should have used the peak of the China boom to do the hard things required to set us up for the opportunities still on offer from our Asian century: if we can grab them. That would include forging the world’s best industrial relations arrangements that encourage a high-performance workplace culture. That is, we should seek to break from the adversarial and over-regulated workplace culture entrenched over the past century.

The AFR then says that the whitewash of Labor’s review of its Fair Work Act this past week showed we have done the opposite. The business-as-usual review by a panel of industrial relations insiders brushed aside concerns that Labor’s reregulation of the job market could have any role in our declining productivity growth.

The claim that Labor’s reregulation of the job market is a cause of the Australia's declining productivity growth is assumed not argued for. That the latter could also have something to do with an educated worked and research and development rather than lower wages ---is not acknowledged, despite a reference to the rise of the services sector as manufacturing declines and the wave of revolutionary technological change.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:10 AM | | Comments (3)


'The world's best industrial relations arrangements'? What on earth is that supposed to mean? How does the AFR suggest we judge - by evaluating the extent to which the system balances the rights of workers with the power of employers? I rather suspect not; for them, I think it's code for 'industrial relations arrangements based on the fiction that individual workers are free to bargain as equals with employers and therefore no third parties (like unions) should be allowed to interfere'.

Well of course it's an adversarial workplace culture!

Because as long as the workers have laws to protect them and unions to represent them... at least some of them will stand against exploitation. How very inconvenient for big business!

If Labor has paid some attention to industrial relations that makes working slightly less unfair than the previous Tory regime, I would say, "good".
It is not Labor or the unions responsible for any "conflict".
The causes of "conflict" rest largely at the feet of the neoliberalist "one for the rich, none for the poor" outlook and business, for cavilling rather than employing its brains to adjust to fairness and instead create better and more relevant products, employing the talents of an now-engaged workforce able to do the job in the knowledge of a little more security extant than previously.
We need to get get back to the notion that the economy exists for humanity (perish the thought!), not the other way round.