Labour has unveiled its work rights policy, and it’s a good one:
– minimum wage increases at least at the rate of inflation or the average wage increase, whichever is higher. That would bring it to nearly $15 a year by 2011.
Why they didn’t just commit to $15 like the rest of the Left, I don’t know
– enable multi-employer collective bargaining.
Forcing union members to negotiate separate deals for the same work at different workplaces was one way the Right tried to break the unions when it introduced the Employment Contracts Act. It creates a tremendous strain on resources for unions. MECAs remove that strain and lead to better deals.
– prevent freeloading.
Currently, many businesses automatically pass gains made by union members on to non-union members. It is a union-breaking tactic that discourages union membership, which ultimately leads to worse work conditions. Preventing freeloading will encourage union membership and put workers in stronger negotiating positions.
-full employment rights for workers in triangular employment arrangements, on contracts, or employed by labour hire companies.
Currently, most labourers and other low-skill workers are employed in these kinds of arrangements and they have no job security, it is excellent that Labour would change that.
– statutory minimum standards for redundancy.
– retraining allowance for workers who have been in the workforce for at least five years and have been made redundant or have been in the workforce for ten years and wish to upgrade their skills or retrain in a new area.
– permit strike action, if necessary, when employers initiate restructuring/outsourcing which undermines a collective agreement, during the term of that agreement.
All excellent policies that have been welcomed by workers’ rights groups. I do have to say, though, what is wrong with Labour’s thinking that they release their labour policy in the afternoon on Sunday and it isn’t fronted by the PM? No wonder it got zero coverage You’re the Labour party: release your labour policy on Labour day at a major speech by the PM to workers.
Not too late for a re-luanch, though.