I first started work for the hotel restaurant and brewery workers union in 1976 for a period of 10 years.
Graduating to represent workers in the food manufacturing industry for the same amount of years.
I have seen every trick in the book of how workers can be treated in the most brutal way devising methods to break down working conditions and wages over the last 40 years and went on to represent workers in a variety of industries since retiring 15 years ago , so enough of pumping up my own tyres let me tell you about the extremely bleak times ahead, unless.
Employers and the organisations that represent them are gearing up to make a targeted attack due the covid19 endemic for a further assault on workers wages and conditions .
If the union movement are not aware of the full brunt of the employers motives workers are condemned to have wages and conditions slashed and new slave conditions imposed.
Lets look at the scenario post-Covid, when it’s all done and dusted and people are back at work and the stimulus packages have run their course and people are desperate to resume work
The restaurant you previously worked at is hiring again and because you were a casual, your employer has no obligation to rehire you, unless of course you are willing to work for a lower wage while your boss gets back on his feet he will offer you even less than you were paid before, illegally
The restaurant and catering association are about to make application to the Fair Work Commission to to reduce the award rate to allow them to pay you a wage less due to the current economic circumstances for at least 12 months maybe more ..
The Hotel Restaurant and retail industry have already been held culpable for wage theft to the tune of $300 million in the past 5 years, that’s $300 million of lower paid workers money they are now at the coal face placing themselves and families at risk
The trade union movement must vigorously oppose these attacks and must not go hand in hand with bosses amid the claim that the economy must be seen to improve before workers are entitled to fair wages again, that’s not the unions role !!!
My example is only the tip of the iceberg because every Industry Group will make application to either reduce wages, or keep them stagnant, despite any enterprise agreement already negotiated between employers, the Unions and Fair Work Australia
This is a challenge to the ACTU and the Labor party, do not sell out wages and conditions won over the last 150 years ,employers will make application to increase the hours of work back to 40 ,a further application to reduce penalty rates is also on the cards superannuation and holiday pay are also up for grabs if we allow them
This is a critical time for workers and their unions to resist the attacks on our conditions we are about to witness a blitzkreig of enormous proportions, unless….
Now is not the time
Now is not the time to agree to sell out, now is not the time to agree with government and employer groups so that we’re seen to be in accordance with a system that has exploited us since time immemorial. Workers are not in a popularity contest
A recent claim that employers in the construction industry will cut back on basic health and safety in order to cut costs is not fanciful it’s factual, fortunately the construction unions won’t allow this to happen without a fight and backyard and shonky operators who place workers in immediate danger will be exposed.
Every aspect of employees’ rights will be put under the spotlight for the next 5/10 years and we must not allow any employer / union to negotiate away our rights for the so called good of the country .
We won them we are entitled to keep them!