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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    15 Feb '18 11:19 / 1 edit
    My old man was a wharfie and as such a member of a quite militant watersiders union. Then later as an apprentice boilermaker myself I remember sitting around the smoko table listening to how the boss was screwing us and the fall back answer if ever questioned would start like this:

    "If it weren't for the union...blah, blah, slave labor and all that bollocks you'll still get hear around here from the lefties, the likes of shav and his bud zahlanzi.

    Some years later I went contracting as an individual, the terms were pretty simple, you work one hour you get paid one hour. There was no sick pay, no dirt money (how we loved to milk that one), no meal monies, no sick pay, no overtime rate, no holiday pay and no security. But dang, the money, oh yes, lovely.

    About then having experienced the two sides I began to question all these great things we were supposed to be thankful to the union for. All those conditions came at a price.

    Further, a couple of things have happened in Aus recently, the unions have taken to negotiating wages down, the obvious one was the car industry (now gone) The writing was on the wall and the union could see all their lovely dues flying away when everyone was to be made redundant.

    And this one just recently, they negotiated a 20% cut:

    https://thewest.com.au/business/mining/griffin-coal-miners-cop-mammoth-pay-cut-await-return-to-work-date-to-end-six-month-strike-ng-b88742403z

    To what extent do you think the union drives wages and condition? If they were any good at it they'd go to Indonesia or Cambodia and get everyone a 38 hour working week and 4 weeks holiday like here in Aus, that would be the test. Or are wages and conditions driven by yee olde supply and demand and trying to fight that is like trying to fight gravity.
  2. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    15 Feb '18 11:43
    Quite a lot to get into, so I hope I remember to come back to it in more detail.
    But in short:
    - The more international the union is, the more it can curb displacement of labour to cheaper / illegal / immoral means
    - A union is supposed to get the best deal possible for the workforce (not just the members). This cannot mean destroying a company, because that's not a good deal for anyone.
    - A union is supposed to make sure a company has made sure working conditions are as safe as possible.
    - If supply and demand were non-restrictive, it might be an important part of the equation. However, it's not and never had been. It's manufactured and doctored to suit the needs of people who wish to make money out of it.