Movement of Australian workers

Movement of Australian workers

MVMNT F USTRLIN WRKRS

(ssy)

INTRDUCTIN

Sixty pr cnt f ustrlin wrkrs sy tht th lvl f strss in thir jbs hs gn up in just 12 mnths.

Th sm numbr sy tht thy r wrking hrdr, with tw-thirds sying tht thy r nw ding mr tsks.

n-third fl tht thir jb scurity hs dtrirtd, nd mr thn n-qurtr fl tht pprtunitis fr prmtin hv dclind.

qurtr f wrkrs sy tht thy r wrking lngr hurs, nd nt ll r gtting pid fr thm.

Th situtin t wrk hs dtrirtd prticulrly rpidly fr migrnt wrkrs nd ths in th public sctr.

This is th wrld f ntrpris brgining nd Lbur's wrkplc rfrm gnd s rvld in th Gvrnmnt's wn 1994 survy f 11,000 wrkrs.

It's ls th wrld f th futur fr ustrlin bsss, with thir pk bdis prssing fr rfrm t b pushd furthr nd fstr.

nd yt this strtgy is nthusisticlly ndrsd by th CTU, which hs bn th Gvrnmnt's strngst bckr in gtting wrkrs nt ntrpris grmnts. ftr yrs f th ccrd, whn ur unin ldrs tld us tht th cntrlisd wgs systm ws th ky t mintining wgs, scil wlfr nd wrkr unity, thy nw prmt systm driving wrkrs t turn ginst ch thr, t ut-cmpt ch thr, t cut csts nd ris prductivity - ll fr th sk f pitiful py riss. s rsult, unin slidrity is bing undrmind, prfits r sring, nd thr r still fwr full-tim jbs thn t th bginning f th lst rcssin. It's bvius tht wrkrs r gtting rw dl.

Hw did w gt int this trribl situtin? Wht is ntrpris brgining nd wht r its dngrs? nd wht cn w d t bury it nc nd fr ll?

This pmphlt lks t ths qustins nd rgus tht tinkring with th prsnt wgs systm is nt nugh: trd-ffs nd ll kinds f prductivity grmnts hv t b rjctd ut f hnd. Unin ctivists nd t b rmd with th plitics t nswr th rgumnts put up by ur unin ldrs nd th mdi pundits but th nd t cmpt, but wrking smrtr nt hrdr, nd ll th thr sft sp tht is usd t sll scnd dcd f scrific t ustrlin wrkrs. This mns lking t scilist plitics tht cn xplin th crisis tht w r in nd which cn ls pint wy frwrd.

This pmphlt is writtn s wpn t b tkn up by ll ths wh wnt t fight ntrpris brgining, wh dn't buy th rgumnt tht thr is n ltrntiv, nd wh wnt t turn th tid n th mplyrs nd th Kting gvrnmnt. Thr r signs tht if givn ld, wrkrs r prprd t fight: w'v lrdy hd 12 yrs f Librl plicis frm Lbr Gvrnmnt. It's tim t sy nugh is nugh.

1. NTRPRIS BRGINING: WHT'S INVLVD?

ntrpris brgining hs bn sld t ustrlin wrkrs s wy f mking ur wrkplcs mr prductiv s tht jbs will bcm scur. Its supprtrs tll us tht wrkrs will rp dividnds with incrsd flxibility t wrk. Luri Brrtn sys tht his Gvrnmnt's plicis will prmt businss flxibility within frmwrk f mply prtctin - wht culd b mr in th intrsts f mplys? Wll, lt's hv lk t th rcrd: wht's invlvd in th grmnts tht hv bn struck t dt?

Lngr wrking hurs, incrsd shift wrk, rducd pnlty rts nd mr csul nd prt-tim wrk.

MPLYR ffrts t nsur tht hurs f wrk nw rflct th nds f th ntrpris, rthr thn th fmily livs f rdinry wrkrs, is th singl mst cmmn chng t wrking cnditins rising ut f ntrpris grmnts. ighty pr cnt f ll cmpnis rspnding t th Gvrnmnt's 1994 survy rprtd tht thy hd chngd hurs f wrk, nd twnty pr cnt f wrkrs nw wrk mr thn 49 hurs ch wk.

Prtly this is dn by th virtul blitin f pnlty rts nd shift ldings. In th public srvic, mngmnt hs trid t rmv pnlty rts fr wrk n Sturdy mrnings nd public hlidys. t th Cmmnwlth nd dvnc Bnks, wknd nd vning wrk t rdinry rts hs bn intrducd. t mil pplinc plnts, rdinry hurs (pid t bs rts) hv bn sprd btwn 6m nd 6pm. t Thiss-Linfx jint vntur, th shift pnlty is cut frm 50 pr cnt t nly 15 pr cnt.

Th bsis fr rmvl f pnlty rts nd th rductin f shift wrk llwncs is th intrductin f rund-th-clck wrk nd lngthning th wrking dy: t lc wrkrs r tid t cntinuus shift wrk nd th xtnsin f th wrking wk frm 38 t 42 hurs, whil th City f Richmnd grmnt incrss th wrking dy frm 7.2 hurs t 7.7 hurs in xchng fr n-ff lump-sum pymnt. ll f this, dspit th fct tht th xtnsin f shift wrk is widly knwn t incrs strss, t put prssur n fmilis nd scil lif nd t incrs th incidnc f vrity f mdicl ilmnts.

nthr wy in which mplyrs r nw givn grtr cntrl vr wrking hurs is thrugh th lss f prdictbl frtnightly r mnthly rstrd dys ff. Mny ntrpris grmnts nw stipult tht RDs r t b tkn ccrding t th nds f th businss nd bnkd up in busy tims. Hnc th xplsin in strss clims nd th widsprd fling tht ppl r bing vrwrkd.

lngsid ths chngs is incrsing csulistin f th wrkfrc: frty pr cnt f grmnts rgistrd in th privt sctr in 1994 md prvisin fr incrsd us f prt-tim, cntrct r csul lbur. Fr xmpl, grmnts t ustrli Pst nd mil rng hv rducd rstrictins n th us f csul r prt-tim lbur, whil th grmnt t Brl lvtrs llws mngmnt t intrduc cntrct lbur during busy prids.

Wrkrs r split up nd cmmn cnditins rdd

STNDRD ftur f ntrpris grmnts is th brking-up f cmmn cnditins nd th ttmptd frgmnttin f wrkr slidrity. In th liqur trds, fr xmpl, grmnts hv crtd tw-tir wrkfrc, with vrtim pymnts limintd fr nw mplys nd xisting csuls, but mintind fr xisting full-tim wrkrs. Th bvius intntin is t limint vrtim py ltgthr in th lng-trm, but in th shrt-trm t divid th wrkfrc.

In th il industry, th trditinl pttrn f cmpny-wid brgining by wrking cmmitt f unins hs bn rplcd by sctin by sctin brgining. In ugust 1995, this rsultd in th ff-shr wrkrs bing lft high nd dry s thy wr frcd t tk strik ctin n thir wn withut supprt frm thir n-shr wrkmts.

Divid nd Rul is ls th nm f th gm t Tlcm, whr mngmnt hs trid t us brgining t frc whit-cllr wrkrs ff wrds nd nt individul cntrcts. nly prmpt thrts f industril ctin by th PSU frcd mngmnt t bck ff. Mngmnt t Tlcm hv ls split th rgnistin up int 22 businss units, ch f which hs t ngtit its wn trms nd cnditins. It's bvius tht mngmnt will us cncssins t n businss unit t driv dwn cnditins t th thrs.

ntrpris brgining, in cmbintin with th crv-ups f mmbrs rsulting frm unin mlgmtins, hs ld t incrsing divisins btwn unins, frm which mplyrs r th min bnficiris. This is bvius in th grb fr mmbrs by th ustrlin Wrkrs' Unin, which hs md dls with mplyrs which undrcut xisting wrking cnditins in rturn fr xclusiv cvrg. Th WU hs gn n pching spr, nd hs wn r hs pplid fr sl unin cvrg f wrkrs t Munt Is Mins, tw Diky ustrli htls in Cirns, th Hmiltn Islnd rsrt in th Whitsundys, nd S Wrld nd Mvi Wrld n th Gld Cst. t th Cc-Cl bttlrs plnt in Sydny, mngmnt struck singl unin dl with th lctricins' Unin nd cut ut th prviusly dminnt Miscllnus Wrkrs' bcus th lctricins grd t cnditins blckd by th Misss.

Finlly, ntrpris brgining undrmins unin strngth n th shpflr, s unin dlgts wh hd frmrly stuck up fr thir wrkmts in rws with mngmnt r nw frcd t prmt fficincy t wrk. This usully dsn't mn cutting bck n dirctrs' fs r xcutiv prks but finding wys f wrking hrdr nd cutting ut lbur. Th fct tht dlgts r nw rquird t ct s xtnsins f th prsnnl ffic is clr frm th rprt by mtlwrkrs' unin rgnisr tht:

Whn th unin nd mngmnt cm lng nd sy lt's chng things, thr cn b strng rsistnc, spcilly in hrd, dirty wrk nvirnmnts whr th cultur cn b prtty tugh. Whn th shp stwrd, wh is thir mt nd thir wn rprsnttiv, is sying th sm thing but th nd fr chng, things cn gt prtty ugly fr th ppl invlvd.

Wht this mns in prctic is vidnt frm th NI Brdkn fundry in Brisbn, whr wrkrs' hstility t thir unin dlgt mking cncssins in ntrpris ngtitins ld t fist-fight btwn th dlgt nd n f th wrkrs. Th rsult ws tht bth wr sckd n th spt. Rthr thn hlping t build shpflr unin strngth, ntrpris brgining nly wkns it.

Wrk is intnsifid nd jbs r lst

FR TH PST 12 yrs ur unin ldrs hv grd tht wrkrs hv t tk rspnsibility fr imprving prductivity. ntrpris brgining tks this n stp furthr s mplyrs us ntrpris grmnts t rmv limits stblishd by wrkrs vr pst yrs t cntrl th pc f wrk nd nhnc jb scurity. rviw f th first 1,000 grmnts by th Gvrnmnt's Dprtmnt f Industril Rltins (DIR) pints tim nd gin t th wy in which nw clssifictin structurs, rdfining f jbs, multiskilling, nd rrgnistin f wrk hs ld t brdning f rspnsibilitis nd th rmvl f rstrictiv wrk prctics nd dmrctin brrirs.

t mtl industry plnt in Mulgrv in Mlburn, th ntrpris grmnt nw mks prvisin fr nginring trdsprsns t undrtk smi-skilld wrk such s pinting, pcking nd lburing whn thr is drp-ff in wrkld. t th mssiv Frd plnts in Mlburn nd Glng, ll wrkrs cn b skd t undrtk ny tsk n th shpflr, using ny quipmnt, limitd nly by rcgnisd nd ccrditd skills, knwldg nd xprinc. Similr ttl flxibility pplis fr stff t Shrtn Twrs in Mlburn nd t Mdw L. t Wstinghus Brk nd Signl th grmnt prvids fr cntinuus prtin f th plnt by stggring ll ml nd t brks nd nsuring tht wrkrs tnd th mchins f thir wrkmts wh r ff n brk.

In th public srvic, mngrs r trying t rduc highr dutis llwncs fr wrkrs wh tk n jbs highr thn thir wn clssifictin. Furthr, in svrl grmnts, such s t Cntinrs Pckging t Ftscry, pymnt is nw md nly fr skills whn usd, nt s thy r cquird.

Th im f ntrpris grmnts is cntinuus imprvmnt by mns f bnchmrking nd bst prctic. In rng f grmnts rviwd by th DIR, th unins giv cmmitmnt t incrsing prductivity by 10 r 20 pr cnt vr th lif f th grmnt, whthr msurd by incrsing utput, dcrsing csts nd ld tims, r imprving prduct qulity. t Mlburn City Cuncil nd t th Tx ffic, wrkrs r nw rquird t `bnchmrk' thir wrk ginst th csts f prviding th sm srvic in th privt sctr bth in ustrli nd vrss. In thr rs, much is md f custmr srvic s prductivity indictr: wht this mns t n lit rsturnt in Glb in Sydny is tht th mplys' bnus pymnt dpnds n thir smiling t custmrs!

Th Gvrnmnt bsts tht ntrpris brgining lds t incrsd `tmwrk', which lds t n `wrnss f th nds f th cmpny'. It mks much f th cmmitmnt t `gin-shring', by which wrkrs nd mplyrs suppsdly gin qully frm chngs. But brif rviw shws wh rlly gts th bnfits. Judgd in stright csh trms, mny ntrpris grmnts r n-ls bts fr mplyrs. This is clr whn w d th sums: th 1994 ntrpris grmnt t th Gvrnmnt Ptnts ffic prmiss 700 wrkrs py ris f 2 pr cnt, but nly n cnditin tht thy cut csts by $1 millin. Th ttl cst f th py ris t th Gvrnmnt is nly $400,000, lving it with windfll gin f mr thn hlf millin dllrs.

`Tmwrk' ls mns tht wrking cnditins fll by th wysid. Incrsingly, mngrs r xpcting tms t tk rspnsibility fr cutting bsntism in thir sctins, with th crrt f ttndnc bnuss nd th stick f rmvl f stnd-by stff. This ncurgs wrkrs t crck dwn n thir wrkmts, bcus sickis cut th bnus nd incrs th wrkld n ths wh shw up. nd whil th Gvrnmnt clims tht ntrpris grmnts cn hlp mk wrkplcs sfr, th mst cmmn prvisin in NSW stt grmnts in th r f HS is th `simplifictin' r rductin f mplyr prvisin f prtctiv clthing nd quipmnt.

Prductivity incrss nd wrk intnsifictin hv n gl: cutting stff csts with th blssing f th unins. Tlcm, fr xmpl, hs cut 20,000 jbs sinc 1990, vn whil ldrs f th Cmmunictin Wrkrs Unin (CWU) r sitting dwn hmmring ut ntrpris grmnts which will simply pv th wy fr futur rdundncis. Similrly, th CTU nd Gvrnmnt ftn pint t ICI s bing `mdl cmpny'. Hwvr, succssiv runds f ntrpris brgining sinc 1989 t this cmpny hv ld t th wrkfrc bing cut by n-third whil prductivity hs incrsd by 15 pr cnt.

Th cnnctin btwn ntrpris brgining nd rdundncis is clrst t Qnts whr, in rturn fr py ris f 6 pr cnt sprd vr tw yrs, th unin hs grd t rductin f stff frm 21,200 t 18,000. Just whn w nd t b sving jbs, ntrpris brgining is trding thm wy fr pittnc f py ris.

nd if wrkrs dn't t th lin, th Gvrnmnt's twic-mndd unfir dismissl lgisltin llws bsss t gt wy with blu murdr in islting nd victimising militnt uninists. Nt nly ds th nw lgisltin d nthing t stp mss rdundncis, but it ls impss $30,000 limit n cmpnstin py-uts. vn this is nt nugh fr Bb Crr, NSW Lbr Prmir, wh nly n mnth ftr bing lctd in Mrch 1995 strtd High Curt chllng with th im f vrriding vn th Fdrl Gvrnmnt's wk prtctins fr mplys, ching th mplyrs' lin tht th unfir dismissl prvisins cntributd t tng unmplymnt!

Wrkrs ls ccss t ntinl wg incrss

FINLLY, bcus th CTU, mplyrs nd Gvrnmnt r ll cmmittd t incrsing th pc f ntrpris brgining, ll prtis hv bn ding thir bst t nsur tht wrkrs cnnt lk t sfty-nt incrss frm crss-th-brd ntinl wg css s n ltrntiv wy f winning py ris. Such incrss hv bcm fw nd fr btwn sinc 1991 nd cntinully dlyd. Th ccrd Mrk 7, drwn up btwn th LP nd CTU just bfr th 1993 fdrl lctin, ws suppsd t bring n ntinl $10 wg incrs fr ll wrkrs wh hd nt gt n ntrpris grmnt by July 1993. Hwvr, this cmmitmnt ws sn jttisnd. Immditly ftr th lctin, th munt ws rducd t $8 nd dfrrd until ltr in th yr.

ccrd Mrk 8, dvlpd in 1995, cntinus its wg-cutting lgic, with nnul incrss f nly $10 pr wk vr th nxt thr yrs. vn Murdch's ustrlin nwsppr rgud tht this wuld nt gurnt ny significnt imprvmnt in dispsbl incm fr wrkrs withut brgining clut. Wht's mr, th CTU nnuncd up-frnt tht vn ths misrbl incrss wuld b dpndnt upn cutting unmplymnt. If th bsss dn't tk n nugh lbur t shrtn th dl quus, wrkrs with jbs will scrific vn mr! ll f this is prt f th CTU's pln t frc wrkrs int ntrpris grmnts.

Fr frm prviding frmwrk f mply prtctin, s th Gvrnmnt wuld hv us bliv, mst ntrpris grmnts mn mr scrific, fwr jbs nd wrs wrking cnditins. ntrpris brgining invlvs wrkrs pying fr thir wn wg incrss nd slling cnditins in nvr-nding chs fr cmptitiv dvntg. Whil th trd-ffs tnd nt t b s dmging in strngly-uninisd rs in mining nd cnstructin, sm rs f mnufcturing, nd public utilitis s thy r in th prly-uninisd privt-sctr srvic industris, ll grmnts r prmisd n th id tht wrkrs' jbs nd cnditins shuld b dtrmind by th nds f th mplyrs. In th lng-trm, this cn nly undrmin uninism nd t wy t stblishd wrking cnditins.

2. WHT'S BHIND TH PUSH FR NTRPRIS BRGINING?

Th LP/CTU gnd

NTRPRIS brgining rprsnts shrp brk frm th cntrlisd wg-fixing mthds cmmn in th 1980s. Hwvr, th truth is tht ntrpris brgining is th lgicl cntinutin f wht hs bn Lbr plicy sinc t lst 1987. vr sinc th tw-tir systm ws intrducd tht yr, th Gvrnmnt hs bn pushing t mk py nd cnditins incrsingly dpndnt n ntrpris r industry prductivity. This hs givn us rund ftr rund f cncssins, nd wrsning f wrking cnditins in svrl ky rs.

nd w cn g vn furthr bck thn 1987 t s sm cmmn thrds in Lbr's plicy. Th ccrd strtgy frm its vry strt in 1983 hs bn bsd n th id tht wrkrs ndd t rstrin wgs, rfrin frm striks nd wrk hrdr t imprv businss succss. Th id ws tht this wuld llw mplyrs t incrs prfits, t xpnd thir businsss, t strt xprting nd t tk n mr lbur. In fct th Lbr Gvrnmnt, first undr Hwk thn undr Kting, hs hd s its first pririty nt imprving things fr wrkrs wh vt thm in, but srving ths wh rlly hld pwr tdy - big businss. ustrlin businss ss its futur in intgrtin int th wrld cnmy, nd prticulrly th sin rgin. This hs mnt pning up industry t vrss cmptitin, privtising public srvics nd th drgultin f bnks, irlins, lctricity supplis nd mny thr sctrs.

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