Unions changing the rules on fairness
Australian union leader Sally McManus has issued a clear warning ahead of the upcoming federal election: it’s time to change the rules on fairness.
In a speech launching her book On Fairness, which explores Australia’s rising inequality, McManus said Australia had a “unique relationship” with fairness and the very fabric of our society was built on the fair go.
McManus said with inequality now at a 70 year high and workers’ share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at a near 50 year low, people are losing faith in democracy.
“Neo-liberalism has led to a situation where people believe governments are incapable of doing anything about their lives because if the problems are all caused by an “invisible hand”, what is the point?” McManus said.
Listen to Sally McManus speaking ahead of the launch of On Fairness:
The union movement has always played a critical role in ensuring a more equal and fairer society. McManus highlighted Medicare, Superannuation, workplace health and safety laws, the regular of working hours and wages as key example.
Once again, the union movement is calling for change to the industrial laws that are impeding workers’ ability to secure enhanced wages and working conditions.
The ongoing Change The Rules campaign seeks to rebalance the power between employers and workers.
McManus said this balance is directly influenced by the choices made by government and when that balance is tipped too far towards the employer it negatively affects workers’ lives.
“Working people have also seen once-secure jobs converted to contract, casual or ABN jobs in our own workplaces.
“We see our cities full of riders on bikes delivering food, and we watch young people struggle to find permanent jobs that were readily available 30 years ago.
“To us, the insistence of Government Ministers, and certain business groups, that insecure work is not a problem, seems to come from another world,” McManus said.
Ms McManus also highlighted the impacts of tax inequality on the ability to fund critical public services such as schools and hospitals.
McManus said the Australian trade union movement stands between Australia and the unhappy events unfolding across the world.
“We see clearly what the problems are and we know how to fix them.
“We know we can win equality because we have done it before – again and again.”
To find out more about the Change The Rules campaign, visit www.changetherules.org.au
To read more about Sally McManus’ book On Fairness, visit Melbourne University Press.