The Network

The Network
This blog is no longer updated. Please click the picture to hop across to The Network

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This is not just Miss Eagle saying so. This is none other than Nicholas Wilson, the Workplace Ombudsman. That's right. The Workplace Ombudsman. The Workplace Ombudsman set up by the Howard Government.

The WO has said they will go after anyone who is co-ercing employees to sign up to AWAs to try to get in ahead of the ALP Government's proposed legislation. The largest employer trying it on is Telstra, run by those princes of de-regulation, The Three Amigos.

BTW, dear Reader, did you know that Telstra is a substantial corporate funder of that bastion of neo-liberalism, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). The IPA hates regulation (and this means it is against awards and for AWAs) probably more than it hates the plague and has been known to publish the odd article or three which is favourable to the de-regulatory point of view of The Three Amigos.

The best thing, dear Reader, is - if you are not yet a member of the trade union relevant to your particular industry - join a trade union to-day. No excuses!

People say but I can't join a union on my own when there's no one else in my work in a union. Not true. You - as an individual - can join a union and no one else need ever know. In fact, you have human rights and part of those human rights is your right to be a member of a free trade union! Don't let anyone deprive you of your human rights.

Think of it this way, dear Reader. Workplace and Industrial Law insurance. You pay for fire and storm and tempest insurance on your home and belongings. Union membership is the most cost effective way to obtain workplace and industrial law advice and assistance.

Union membership is like any other form of insurance. You may pay the premium and may never use its services. In fact, you hope and pray you never have to use its service. But the day you need the union and you aren't a member, you can find yourself in deep trouble.

And you can obtain services from your trade union without ever having to see a trade union official or have one come to your workplace.

Pay your dues and you can get all the information you need to express an articulate point of view to your employer by placing a telephone call. You can give every appearance of being your own representative - but have the full backing of your trade union in providing you with an arsenal of arguments and a stack of suggestions. All without the boss knowing you are a member of a union.

Of course, 99 times out of 100, your boss will be a member of his/her union - namely an organisation of employers for the respective industry. So, if it is worthwhile for your boss to be a member of a trade organisation so he can get information, backing and support, why is it not worthwhile for you?

And, of course, the modern trade union provides a range of additional services. The trade union that used to employ Miss E as a union official had an excellent service for members involved in workcover/workers' compensation issues. Again, the sort of thing you hope never to need - but when you do....

The members who had used this service could not speak highly enough of it. They appeared before boards in the company of the union's legal practitioners - all for free. Something that frequently gave an edge and made the difference in a claim succeeding. Those who needed to go to common law to seek damages needed only to keep their union membership up to date to be represented legally for nix.

And who has protected working people from the ravages of AWAs by campaigning to unseat the Howard Government? The trade union movement across Australia.

And they did this by working with members of the general public - many of whom are not union members or have retired from the workforce and no longer current union members. So a thorough community campaign in conjunction with the union movement has brought crucial votes to the Labor Party to give workers a fair go.

So, give yourself a fair go, dear Reader, and keep your union membership up - and your powder dry.