Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Closing the gap

At the moment, Don Brash is worrying about how to close the gap in incomes and living standards between Australia and New Zealand. He shouldn't be - because John Howard is closing it for us. Two months ago, his government rammed through ECA-style industrial relations "reforms". And predictably, this has led to an unprecedented assault on worker's wages and conditions. Every contract signed since the law was enacted has stripped conditions from workers. 64% have cut annual leave provisions below the previous legal minimum, 63% penal rates, 54% shift allowances, and 40% public holidays. 16% of contracts have made cuts to all of these provisions. As the ACTU points out, this is exactly what the law was designed to do, and they are predicting that it will have exactly the same consequences as the ECA did in New Zealand, where some workers saw their take-home pay cut by up to 40%. At this rate, the gap will be closed in no time...


National will simply seamlessly and sahmelessly switch from demanding tax cuts to close the income gap with Australia to demanding tax cuts to offset the growing competitiveness of the Australian economy...

Whatever the question, the answer is tax cuts.

Posted by Sanctuary : 5/31/2006 01:52:00 PM

"Whatever the question, the answer is tax cuts."

maybe. but is that any worse that "whatever the question, the answer is leave tax the same or raise it."?

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 5/31/2006 02:09:00 PM

"Every contract signed since the law was enacted has stripped conditions from workers."

I/S you say this like the workers were forced to sign the contracts. The workers obviously agreed to the 'stripping' or they wouldn't have signed the contracts!

Posted by Gooner : 5/31/2006 08:36:00 PM

"The workers obviously agreed to the 'stripping' or they wouldn't have signed the contracts!"

It's not quite as simple as that. Not everyone has the luxury to turn down jobs. Considering the 'take this pay cut or loose your job' attitude taken by employers in NZ during the Lange and Bolger years, there will no doubt be cases of blue collar workers in Australia who will be forced to accept eroded employment conditions.

Posted by James : 5/31/2006 10:46:00 PM

Maybe, but not *every* worker under *every* contract.

Posted by Gooner : 6/01/2006 10:08:00 PM

Mmmm, okay, so we should go back to the years where unions ruled, and work only got done when the union bosses said so, and you could never take the Cook Strait ferry during the school holidays because the bastards were on strike again.

I fully believe everyone should be well recompensed for their efforts, and the ECA does give that - maybe not at the start, it needed some tweaking (as will the Aussie one). The only people who don't gain out of the ECA are those with nothing to offer.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/12/2006 11:32:00 PM