Mood: accident prone
Topic: human rights
The other day on the 7.30 Report Greg Combet said it was internationally recognised as a human right for labour to collectively organise:
Janet Albrechtsen as a corporate lawyer in thrawl to Big Business there at The Australian has cooked up an incredible cauldron of smear about this human right.
As an ex corporate lawyer I know its all about framing of a debate, and Albrechtsen on whom Alan Jones went to town yesterday morning on 2GB in reliance, has invented a framework right out of ...fairy land. Or perhaps a Lord of the Rings like vision of Mordor run by trolls and goblins from the union.
But like the JRR Tolkien writing method it's all about creating a fantasy and then loading it up with realistic trimmings after that, enticing the reader to forget the original premise is, and has always been, fantasy.
Thus Albrechtsen has written twice now
"in a workplace of 1000 workers, if 100 workers turn up to vote and 51 workers vote yes to a collective agreement, that agreement prevails. The vote of 51 workers will bind all 1000 workers". Refer Labor scheme to sell out workers to unions May 8th 2007 cross referencing an earlier story last weekend.
This is such an incredulous scenario one wonders if Albrechtsen has spent time at Mardi Grass in Nimbin: Over 100 arrested at Nimbin Mardi Grass festival. 07/05/2007. ABC ...
Let's just tease out her scenario. The union, the boss, or the workers call a general meeting to discuss their potential level of wage. Is it $25K, $40K, $70K? Will you get redundancy, holiday, sick and other pay loadings or will it all be folded into an AWA and decided that way individual by individual?
How many turn up to such a meeting? Let me guess. Not 50. Not 100. 900 would be more like it. Money talks and bullsh*t walks. As the old saying goes self interest is always trying and workers WILL attend a meeting in droves based on their hip pocket nerve.
Alan Jones and Janet Albrechtsen have no idea, and what's more a revealingly jaundiced lack of confidence in the culture of democracy in Australia. But even if you think workers lack interest in meeting process per se, you can count on their self interest to motivate that democracy for the sake of their own pay packet. Which is why 50/1000 at a meeting to discuss their pay is a hopelessly vexatious premise.
The fact this laughable scenario has been published twice by The Australia is sad. It is also probably why a now desperate PM Howard, big budget notwithstanding, is going to lose the next federal election, bargaining fee for unions or not. In fact it seems not based on Julie Gillard's reported position front page story in the same paper The Australian a day earlier:
Gillard move likely to enrage unions - The Australian - 7 May 2007
Is it too much to hope that the squawking Parrot and the quacking duck do a bit more home work and real thinking?
Declaration: As a community media practitioner this writer is a member of the Australian Services Union on a greatly discounted rate of $5.80 a month.