Articles on Unions

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Politics can be removed from reform, such as to weed out alleged corruption in Australia’s building industry, without challenging its success. AAP/Julian Smith

Corruption in construction: building reform from the ground up

As allegations of corruption in Australia’s construction unions continue to emerge, the scandal – purportedly involving underworld heavyweight Mick Gatto and bikie gangs – appears to be an Underbelly script…
Firefighters are protesting new pension plans, but the status quo is unaffordable. Yui Mok/PA

Deadlock over pensions forces firefighters out on strike again

Firefighters have once again voted to go on strike in England and Wales, their fifth strike since September. This might seem like a high number of walkouts, but the Fire Brigades Union (FBU)‘s reputation…
The Falkirk juggernaut rumbles on. David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Falkirk saga plays right into Cameron’s hands

After the controversies of the past few weeks, the coalition government has launched a review of trade union tactics, to be led by Bruce Carr QC. The issue of union activities and the relationship between…
The Abbott government is moving to re-establish a commission dealing with construction union militancy, but the CFMEU says it won’t back down. AAP/Juilan Smith

Revived construction sector watchdog more politics than productivity

Australia’s construction union will not back down on militancy in the face of tougher laws surrounding construction sites, according to controversial union boss Joe McDonald. The Abbott government last…
Millions of workers struggle on the emerging periphery while those at the core enjoy the benefits of stability and skills. Shutterstock

Life on edge as new divide ignored

The Fair Work Commission’s recent wage review may have struck an increased pay deal for low-paid workers but its decision overlooks the growth of a worrying new divide in the Australian workforce. With…
Civilians rescue an injured worker after the eight-storey Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 24. AAP

Mind the gap: company disclosure discrepancies not sustainable

The recent decision by two Australian retailers to sign an accord protecting suppliers in Bangladesh has highlighted discrepancies in company disclosure of sustainability issues and the need for clearer…
Old Labour: Those on stage rattle your jewellery, the rest of you wave your flat caps. PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Labour, the unions and the breaking of the British working class

Foundation essay: This essay on the Labour Party and its relationship with the working class and the trade union movement in Britain is part of a series of articles marking the launch of The Conversation…
This election year, taxation, industrial relations and red tape will feature prominently on the business community’s agenda. AAP

This election year, business will push for a triumph of policy over paralysis

The business community was effectively sidelined at the last federal election, and they felt somewhat miffed about it. Business associations were caught flat-footed at the suddenness of Julia Gillard’s…
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has ruled out making any sweeping changes to the Fair Work Act. AAP

Fair Work Act review: weighing up the evidence, the spin and the wedge

The post implementation review of the Fair Work Act, 2009, was released this afternoon. A three member panel – Professor Ron McCallum, Dr John Edwards and Michael Moore – produced the three hundred–odd…
Paul Howes (pictured) believes the Greens represent a threat to Labor’s electability. AAP

Labour pains cause ALP to see red over Greens

Governments and their partisans are usually reluctant to admit that they might be unpopular for a reason. Labor partisans have offered many explanations for the unpopularity of the Gillard government…
The union scandal surrounding Labor MP Craig Thompson shows just why the Labor party should re-consider its relationship with the unions. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

The Health Services Union scandal and Labor’s unhappy political marriage

The Health Services Union’s scandal continues with calls for its national president to resign and moves to remove Kathy Jackson, the whistleblower who first revealed claims of credit card misuse, from…
Former Health Services Union head Craig Thomson represents a vital vote for the Gillard government. AAP Image/Penny Bradfield

Health Services Union: why union members deserve better

The ACTU yesterday voted to suspend the Health Servives Union from affiliation until they can prove that issues of governance have been dealt with appropriately. Although it does seem to have been a slow…
Will arbitration by Fair Work Australia provide the outcome Qantas chief Alan Joyce wants? Not necessarily. AAP

The Qantas dispute: What next and a recap

Memo to the Qantas public relations team: if you mount a Twitter campaign calling for travellers’ luxury flying experiences in the middle of an unresolved industrial dispute, be aware there might be a…
Alan Joyce walked with staff in August - but what will win them back now? AAP

How might Qantas rebuild relations with its workforce?

It is possible to rebuild relations after major disputes. British Airways is currently trying to do just that after a long industrial-relations dispute with many of its flight attendants. Qantas’s CEO…
The Police Association of Victoria fought hard and smart to ensure they won a payrise promised to them during the 2010 election campaign. AAP/Julian Smith

The thin blue bottom line: how Victoria’s police re-defined public pay battles

The Police Association of Victoria recently secured a pay rise of nearly 19 per cent over four years for its members. Lessons drawn from the Police Association’s success should bolster the bargaining power…

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