COSBOA is deeply concerned by the recent announcement by the ALP’s workplace relations shadow minister Brendon O’Connor that if Labor wins the next election that more power would be given to the union movement.
Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA said today, ‘A recent OECD report showed that the Australian public has little trust in unions. Australia is fifth last out of a survey of 35 countries when it comes to trust in unions. Just ahead of the USA where the unions are seen as branches of the Mafia. So why would we give more power to a group that is so poorly trusted?”
COSBOA knows that small businesses make up some 96% of all businesses in Australia. Small business people employ around half the Australian workforce – over 4.5 million people. Australian trade unions have a membership of some 1.6 million people, many of whom are forced to be members, and the number of members is falling. Mr O’Connor has stated that “In the absence of unions, the labour market is more brutal, workplaces are more dangerous, workers suffer more exploitation and society is impoverished.”
Mr Strong added that the opposite is true “trade unions have been caught flouting the law; leaders of some unions feel no remorse in publicly threatening public servants and their families who don’t toe the union line; small business people who express an opinion that the unions don’t like will be targeted for destruction. We also see the retail union has basically taken money from Sunday workers by false promises of better pay and conditions in enterprise agreements to subsidise the pay of members who work weekdays. Instead of fixing this we are going to give these groups more power? This won’t end well.”