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ntrpris brgining hs bn sld t ustrlin wrkrs s wy f mking ur wrkplcs mr prductiv s tht jbs will bcm scur. Whats behind the push for entrpris brgining. Questions and answers about entrpris brgining in Australia.

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Sixty pr cnt f ustrlin wrkrs sy tht th lvl f strss in thir jbs hs gn up in just 12 mnths.

Th sm numbr sy tht thy r wrking hrdr, with tw-thirds sying tht thy r nw ding mr tsks.

n-third fl tht thir jb scurity hs dtrirtd, nd mr thn n-qurtr fl tht pprtunitis fr prmtin hv dclind.

qurtr f wrkrs sy tht thy r wrking lngr hurs, nd nt ll r gtting pid fr thm.

Th situtin t wrk hs dtrirtd prticulrly rpidly fr migrnt wrkrs nd ths in th public sctr.

This is th wrld f ntrpris brgining nd Lbur's wrkplc rfrm gnd s rvld in th Gvrnmnt's wn 1994 survy f 11,000 wrkrs.

It's ls th wrld f th futur fr ustrlin bsss, with thir pk bdis prssing fr rfrm t b pushd furthr nd fstr.

nd yt this strtgy is nthusisticlly ndrsd by th CTU, which hs bn th Gvrnmnt's strngst bckr in gtting wrkrs nt ntrpris grmnts. ftr yrs f th ccrd, whn ur unin ldrs tld us tht th cntrlisd wgs systm ws th ky t mintining wgs, scil wlfr nd wrkr unity, thy nw prmt systm driving wrkrs t turn ginst ch thr, t ut-cmpt ch thr, t cut csts nd ris prductivity - ll fr th sk f pitiful py riss. s rsult, unin slidrity is bing undrmind, prfits r sring, nd thr r still fwr full-tim jbs thn t th bginning f th lst rcssin. It's bvius tht wrkrs r gtting rw dl.

Hw did w gt int this trribl situtin? Wht is ntrpris brgining nd wht r its dngrs? nd wht cn w d t bury it nc nd fr ll?

This pmphlt lks t ths qustins nd rgus tht tinkring with th prsnt wgs systm is nt nugh: trd-ffs nd ll kinds f prductivity grmnts hv t b rjctd ut f hnd. Unin ctivists nd t b rmd with th plitics t nswr th rgumnts put up by ur unin ldrs nd th mdi pundits but th nd t cmpt, but wrking smrtr nt hrdr, nd ll th thr sft sp tht is usd t sll scnd dcd f scrific t ustrlin wrkrs. This mns lking t scilist plitics tht cn xplin th crisis tht w r in nd which cn ls pint wy frwrd.

This pmphlt is writtn s wpn t b tkn up by ll ths wh wnt t fight ntrpris brgining, wh dn't buy th rgumnt tht thr is n ltrntiv, nd wh wnt t turn th tid n th mplyrs nd th Kting gvrnmnt. Thr r signs tht if givn ld, wrkrs r prprd t fight: w'v lrdy hd 12 yrs f Librl plicis frm Lbr Gvrnmnt. It's tim t sy nugh is nugh.


ntrpris brgining hs bn sld t ustrlin wrkrs s wy f mking ur wrkplcs mr prductiv s tht jbs will bcm scur. Its supprtrs tll us tht wrkrs will rp dividnds with incrsd flxibility t wrk. Luri Brrtn sys tht his Gvrnmnt's plicis will prmt businss flxibility within frmwrk f mply prtctin - wht culd b mr in th intrsts f mplys? Wll, lt's hv lk t th rcrd: wht's invlvd in th grmnts tht hv bn struck t dt?

Lngr wrking hurs, incrsd shift wrk, rducd pnlty rts nd mr csul nd prt-tim wrk.

MPLYR ffrts t nsur tht hurs f wrk nw rflct th nds f th ntrpris, rthr thn th fmily livs f rdinry wrkrs, is th singl mst cmmn chng t wrking cnditins rising ut f ntrpris grmnts. ighty pr cnt f ll cmpnis rspnding t th Gvrnmnt's 1994 survy rprtd tht thy hd chngd hurs f wrk, nd twnty pr cnt f wrkrs nw wrk mr thn 49 hurs ch wk.

Prtly this is dn by th virtul blitin f pnlty rts nd shift ldings. In th public srvic, mngmnt hs trid t rmv pnlty rts fr wrk n Sturdy mrnings nd public hlidys. t th Cmmnwlth nd dvnc Bnks, wknd nd vning wrk t rdinry rts hs bn intrducd. t mil pplinc plnts, rdinry hurs (pid t bs rts) hv bn sprd btwn 6m nd 6pm. t Thiss-Linfx jint vntur, th shift pnlty is cut frm 50 pr cnt t nly 15 pr cnt.

Th bsis fr rmvl f pnlty rts nd th rductin f shift wrk llwncs is th intrductin f rund-th-clck wrk nd lngthning th wrking dy: t lc wrkrs r tid t cntinuus shift wrk nd th xtnsin f th wrking wk frm 38 t 42 hurs, whil th City f Richmnd grmnt incrss th wrking dy frm 7.2 hurs t 7.7 hurs in xchng fr n-ff lump-sum pymnt. ll f this, dspit th fct tht th xtnsin f shift wrk is widly knwn t incrs strss, t put prssur n fmilis nd scil lif nd t incrs th incidnc f vrity f mdicl ilmnts.

nthr wy in which mplyrs r nw givn grtr cntrl vr wrking hurs is thrugh th lss f prdictbl frtnightly r mnthly rstrd dys ff. Mny ntrpris grmnts nw stipult tht RDs r t b tkn ccrding t th nds f th businss nd bnkd up in busy tims. Hnc th xplsin in strss clims nd th widsprd fling tht ppl r bing vrwrkd.

lngsid ths chngs is incrsing csulistin f th wrkfrc: frty pr cnt f grmnts rgistrd in th privt sctr in 1994 md prvisin fr incrsd us f prt-tim, cntrct r csul lbur. Fr xmpl, grmnts t ustrli Pst nd mil rng hv rducd rstrictins n th us f csul r prt-tim lbur, whil th grmnt t Brl lvtrs llws mngmnt t intrduc cntrct lbur during busy prids.

Wrkrs r split up nd cmmn cnditins rdd

STNDRD ftur f ntrpris grmnts is th brking-up f cmmn cnditins nd th ttmptd frgmnttin f wrkr slidrity. In th liqur trds, fr xmpl, grmnts hv crtd tw-tir wrkfrc, with vrtim pymnts limintd fr nw mplys nd xisting csuls, but mintind fr xisting full-tim wrkrs. Th bvius intntin is t limint vrtim py ltgthr in th lng-trm, but in th shrt-trm t divid th wrkfrc.

In th il industry, th trditinl pttrn f cmpny-wid brgining by wrking cmmitt f unins hs bn rplcd by sctin by sctin brgining. In ugust 1995, this rsultd in th ff-shr wrkrs bing lft high nd dry s thy wr frcd t tk strik ctin n thir wn withut supprt frm thir n-shr wrkmts.

Divid nd Rul is ls th nm f th gm t Tlcm, whr mngmnt hs trid t us brgining t frc whit-cllr wrkrs ff wrds nd nt individul cntrcts. nly prmpt thrts f industril ctin by th PSU frcd mngmnt t bck ff. Mngmnt t Tlcm hv ls split th rgnistin up int 22 businss units, ch f which hs t ngtit its wn trms nd cnditins. It's bvius tht mngmnt will us cncssins t n businss unit t driv dwn cnditins t th thrs.

ntrpris brgining, in cmbintin with th crv-ups f mmbrs rsulting frm unin mlgmtins, hs ld t incrsing divisins btwn unins, frm which mplyrs r th min bnficiris. This is bvius in th grb fr mmbrs by th ustrlin Wrkrs' Unin, which hs md dls with mplyrs which undrcut xisting wrking cnditins in rturn fr xclusiv cvrg. Th WU hs gn n pching spr, nd hs wn r hs pplid fr sl unin cvrg f wrkrs t Munt Is Mins, tw Diky ustrli htls in Cirns, th Hmiltn Islnd rsrt in th Whitsundys, nd S Wrld nd Mvi Wrld n th Gld Cst. t th Cc-Cl bttlrs plnt in Sydny, mngmnt struck singl unin dl with th lctricins' Unin nd cut ut th prviusly dminnt Miscllnus Wrkrs' bcus th lctricins grd t cnditins blckd by th Misss.

Finlly, ntrpris brgining undrmins unin strngth n th shpflr, s unin dlgts wh hd frmrly stuck up fr thir wrkmts in rws with mngmnt r nw frcd t prmt fficincy t wrk. This usully dsn't mn cutting bck n dirctrs' fs r xcutiv prks but finding wys f wrking hrdr nd cutting ut lbur. Th fct tht dlgts r nw rquird t ct s xtnsins f th prsnnl ffic is clr frm th rprt by mtlwrkrs' unin rgnisr tht:

Whn th unin nd mngmnt cm lng nd sy lt's chng things, thr cn b strng rsistnc, spcilly in hrd, dirty wrk nvirnmnts whr th cultur cn b prtty tugh. Whn th shp stwrd, wh is thir mt nd thir wn rprsnttiv, is sying th sm thing but th nd fr chng, things cn gt prtty ugly fr th ppl invlvd.

Wht this mns in prctic is vidnt frm th NI Brdkn fundry in Brisbn, whr wrkrs' hstility t thir unin dlgt mking cncssins in ntrpris ngtitins ld t fist-fight btwn th dlgt nd n f th wrkrs. Th rsult ws tht bth wr sckd n th spt. Rthr thn hlping t build shpflr unin strngth, ntrpris brgining nly wkns it.

Wrk is intnsifid nd jbs r lst

FR TH PST 12 yrs ur unin ldrs hv grd tht wrkrs hv t tk rspnsibility fr imprving prductivity. ntrpris brgining tks this n stp furthr s mplyrs us ntrpris grmnts t rmv limits stblishd by wrkrs vr pst yrs t cntrl th pc f wrk nd nhnc jb scurity. rviw f th first 1,000 grmnts by th Gvrnmnt's Dprtmnt f Industril Rltins (DIR) pints tim nd gin t th wy in which nw clssifictin structurs, rdfining f jbs, multiskilling, nd rrgnistin f wrk hs ld t brdning f rspnsibilitis nd th rmvl f rstrictiv wrk prctics nd dmrctin brrirs.

t mtl industry plnt in Mulgrv in Mlburn, th ntrpris grmnt nw mks prvisin fr nginring trdsprsns t undrtk smi-skilld wrk such s pinting, pcking nd lburing whn thr is drp-ff in wrkld. t th mssiv Frd plnts in Mlburn nd Glng, ll wrkrs cn b skd t undrtk ny tsk n th shpflr, using ny quipmnt, limitd nly by rcgnisd nd ccrditd skills, knwldg nd xprinc. Similr ttl flxibility pplis fr stff t Shrtn Twrs in Mlburn nd t Mdw L. t Wstinghus Brk nd Signl th grmnt prvids fr cntinuus prtin f th plnt by stggring ll ml nd t brks nd nsuring tht wrkrs tnd th mchins f thir wrkmts wh r ff n brk.

In th public srvic, mngrs r trying t rduc highr dutis llwncs fr wrkrs wh tk n jbs highr thn thir wn clssifictin. Furthr, in svrl grmnts, such s t Cntinrs Pckging t Ftscry, pymnt is nw md nly fr skills whn usd, nt s thy r cquird.

Th im f ntrpris grmnts is cntinuus imprvmnt by mns f bnchmrking nd bst prctic. In rng f grmnts rviwd by th DIR, th unins giv cmmitmnt t incrsing prductivity by 10 r 20 pr cnt vr th lif f th grmnt, whthr msurd by incrsing utput, dcrsing csts nd ld tims, r imprving prduct qulity. t Mlburn City Cuncil nd t th Tx ffic, wrkrs r nw rquird t `bnchmrk' thir wrk ginst th csts f prviding th sm srvic in th privt sctr bth in ustrli nd vrss. In thr rs, much is md f custmr srvic s prductivity indictr: wht this mns t n lit rsturnt in Glb in Sydny is tht th mplys' bnus pymnt dpnds n thir smiling t custmrs!

Th Gvrnmnt bsts tht ntrpris brgining lds t incrsd `tmwrk', which lds t n `wrnss f th nds f th cmpny'. It mks much f th cmmitmnt t `gin-shring', by which wrkrs nd mplyrs suppsdly gin qully frm chngs. But brif rviw shws wh rlly gts th bnfits. Judgd in stright csh trms, mny ntrpris grmnts r n-ls bts fr mplyrs. This is clr whn w d th sums: th 1994 ntrpris grmnt t th Gvrnmnt Ptnts ffic prmiss 700 wrkrs py ris f 2 pr cnt, but nly n cnditin tht thy cut csts by $1 millin. Th ttl cst f th py ris t th Gvrnmnt is nly $400,000, lving it with windfll gin f mr thn hlf millin dllrs.

`Tmwrk' ls mns tht wrking cnditins fll by th wysid. Incrsingly, mngrs r xpcting tms t tk rspnsibility fr cutting bsntism in thir sctins, with th crrt f ttndnc bnuss nd th stick f rmvl f stnd-by stff. This ncurgs wrkrs t crck dwn n thir wrkmts, bcus sickis cut th bnus nd incrs th wrkld n ths wh shw up. nd whil th Gvrnmnt clims tht ntrpris grmnts cn hlp mk wrkplcs sfr, th mst cmmn prvisin in NSW stt grmnts in th r f HS is th `simplifictin' r rductin f mplyr prvisin f prtctiv clthing nd quipmnt.

Prductivity incrss nd wrk intnsifictin hv n gl: cutting stff csts with th blssing f th unins. Tlcm, fr xmpl, hs cut 20,000 jbs sinc 1990, vn whil ldrs f th Cmmunictin Wrkrs Unin (CWU) r sitting dwn hmmring ut ntrpris grmnts which will simply pv th wy fr futur rdundncis. Similrly, th CTU nd Gvrnmnt ftn pint t ICI s bing `mdl cmpny'. Hwvr, succssiv runds f ntrpris brgining sinc 1989 t this cmpny hv ld t th wrkfrc bing cut by n-third whil prductivity hs incrsd by 15 pr cnt.

Th cnnctin btwn ntrpris brgining nd rdundncis is clrst t Qnts whr, in rturn fr py ris f 6 pr cnt sprd vr tw yrs, th unin hs grd t rductin f stff frm 21,200 t 18,000. Just whn w nd t b sving jbs, ntrpris brgining is trding thm wy fr pittnc f py ris.

nd if wrkrs dn't t th lin, th Gvrnmnt's twic-mndd unfir dismissl lgisltin llws bsss t gt wy with blu murdr in islting nd victimising militnt uninists. Nt nly ds th nw lgisltin d nthing t stp mss rdundncis, but it ls impss $30,000 limit n cmpnstin py-uts. vn this is nt nugh fr Bb Crr, NSW Lbr Prmir, wh nly n mnth ftr bing lctd in Mrch 1995 strtd High Curt chllng with th im f vrriding vn th Fdrl Gvrnmnt's wk prtctins fr mplys, ching th mplyrs' lin tht th unfir dismissl prvisins cntributd t tng unmplymnt!

Wrkrs ls ccss t ntinl wg incrss

FINLLY, bcus th CTU, mplyrs nd Gvrnmnt r ll cmmittd t incrsing th pc f ntrpris brgining, ll prtis hv bn ding thir bst t nsur tht wrkrs cnnt lk t sfty-nt incrss frm crss-th-brd ntinl wg css s n ltrntiv wy f winning py ris. Such incrss hv bcm fw nd fr btwn sinc 1991 nd cntinully dlyd. Th ccrd Mrk 7, drwn up btwn th LP nd CTU just bfr th 1993 fdrl lctin, ws suppsd t bring n ntinl $10 wg incrs fr ll wrkrs wh hd nt gt n ntrpris grmnt by July 1993. Hwvr, this cmmitmnt ws sn jttisnd. Immditly ftr th lctin, th munt ws rducd t $8 nd dfrrd until ltr in th yr.

ccrd Mrk 8, dvlpd in 1995, cntinus its wg-cutting lgic, with nnul incrss f nly $10 pr wk vr th nxt thr yrs. vn Murdch's ustrlin nwsppr rgud tht this wuld nt gurnt ny significnt imprvmnt in dispsbl incm fr wrkrs withut brgining clut. Wht's mr, th CTU nnuncd up-frnt tht vn ths misrbl incrss wuld b dpndnt upn cutting unmplymnt. If th bsss dn't tk n nugh lbur t shrtn th dl quus, wrkrs with jbs will scrific vn mr! ll f this is prt f th CTU's pln t frc wrkrs int ntrpris grmnts.

Fr frm prviding frmwrk f mply prtctin, s th Gvrnmnt wuld hv us bliv, mst ntrpris grmnts mn mr scrific, fwr jbs nd wrs wrking cnditins. ntrpris brgining invlvs wrkrs pying fr thir wn wg incrss nd slling cnditins in nvr-nding chs fr cmptitiv dvntg. Whil th trd-ffs tnd nt t b s dmging in strngly-uninisd rs in mining nd cnstructin, sm rs f mnufcturing, nd public utilitis s thy r in th prly-uninisd privt-sctr srvic industris, ll grmnts r prmisd n th id tht wrkrs' jbs nd cnditins shuld b dtrmind by th nds f th mplyrs. In th lng-trm, this cn nly undrmin uninism nd t wy t stblishd wrking cnditins.


Th LP/CTU gnd

NTRPRIS brgining rprsnts shrp brk frm th cntrlisd wg-fixing mthds cmmn in th 1980s. Hwvr, th truth is tht ntrpris brgining is th lgicl cntinutin f wht hs bn Lbr plicy sinc t lst 1987. vr sinc th tw-tir systm ws intrducd tht yr, th Gvrnmnt hs bn pushing t mk py nd cnditins incrsingly dpndnt n ntrpris r industry prductivity. This hs givn us rund ftr rund f cncssins, nd wrsning f wrking cnditins in svrl ky rs.

nd w cn g vn furthr bck thn 1987 t s sm cmmn thrds in Lbr's plicy. Th ccrd strtgy frm its vry strt in 1983 hs bn bsd n th id tht wrkrs ndd t rstrin wgs, rfrin frm striks nd wrk hrdr t imprv businss succss. Th id ws tht this wuld llw mplyrs t incrs prfits, t xpnd thir businsss, t strt xprting nd t tk n mr lbur. In fct th Lbr Gvrnmnt, first undr Hwk thn undr Kting, hs hd s its first pririty nt imprving things fr wrkrs wh vt thm in, but srving ths wh rlly hld pwr tdy - big businss. ustrlin businss ss its futur in intgrtin int th wrld cnmy, nd prticulrly th sin rgin. This hs mnt pning up industry t vrss cmptitin, privtising public srvics nd th drgultin f bnks, irlins, lctricity supplis nd mny thr sctrs.

Pursuing th `ntinl intrst', th Gvrnmnt hs trid t nfrc `intrntinl bst prctic', cmplling ustrlin wrkrs t wrk vr hrdr fr lss rwrd, s ur mplyrs ngg in cut-thrt cmptitin with bsss vrss. Th rl cntnt f this `ntinl intrst' is md clr by th CD, th club f rich cuntris, whs rprt n th ustrlin cnmy in Jun 1994 instructs th Gvrnmnt t ttck stblishd unin structurs nd wrds bcus thy gt in th wy f wht succssful mdrn cpitlist cnmis rquir: cmpny-bsd r n unins, nd py dtrmind by cmpny prfitbility nt cmmn stndrds.

This is dd-nd fr wrkrs, nt nly in ustrli but ll vr th wrld. Just s th ustrlin gvrnmnt is prmting ustrli's `ntinl intrst' (by cutting wgs, driving up prductivity nd rtinlising industry), s t r gvrnmnts nd cmpnis in si, Nrth mric nd urp. It's bvius tht wrkrs r n t hiding t nthing in this srt f dgfight nd tht th `ntinl intrst', which Lbr is s kn t prmt, is rlly th intrst f th bsss. In prctic, th `ntinl intrst' in ur cpitlist systm rquirs furthr scrific by ths wh ctully prduc th wlth - nt th ht-sht businss tycns wh nly squndr vlubl rsurcs, but th wrkrs in th ffics, fctris, rilwy yrds, wrhuss nd public srvics.

Th unin ldrs s thir jb s plicing wrkrs in this prcss. Thy t bliv in th `ntinl intrst'. Thrugh rprsnting wrkrs in cllctiv brgining nd rbitrtin, thir rl is t win th bst dl fr wrkrs within th lgic f th cpitlist systm. But t ply this rl dpnds n bing ccptd by mplyrs s `cnmiclly rspnsibl'. nd in rdr t mintin thir psitins f pwr within thir unins thy must sqush ny thrt frm mmbrs which chllngs crdil rltins with th mplyrs. Ngtitin nd cmprmis, rthr thn industril militncy, bcms thir brd nd buttr. Bcus thy wn't ctivly chllng th systm t its fundtins, thy ccmmdt t it. Thy ccpt tht wrkrs' wgs nd jbs shuld b subjct t cmpny prfits s th bsis fr hlthy cnmy.

Whn businss is bming this dsn't sm t b prblm: thr is nugh ft in th systm t llw fr rgulr wg riss whil prfits r mintind. Th intrsts f bth wrkrs nd bsss sm t b mt. But whn th systm is in prlngd prid f wknss, s it hs bn sinc th mid-1970s, th jb f ur unin fficils cms t b n f cting s nfrcrs fr Gvrnmnt nd businss. Bcus thy s thmslvs s dlivring nly `wht th systm cn ffrd' thy hv n intrst in chllnging rdundncis, cuts t wrking cnditins nd ll th thr ttcks n wrkrs' rights tht ris in cnmic criss. Indd, thy tk rspnsibility fr th crisis, vn if this mns undrcutting ll th cnditins thy ngtitd t th hight f th bm.

In its vin ffrts t mk th systm wrk, th CTU hs bn right bhind th Gvrnmnt sinc its lctin in 1983, thrugh vry twist nd turn f th ccrd, s w hv lurchd frm dizzy spcultiv bms t chrnic bust. Th invlvmnt f snir unin fficils in ntinl nd industry triprtit bdis, nd thir supprt fr th ccrd mr gnrlly, indicts thir willingnss t undrwrit industril stbility s th cnmy undrgs substntil rstructuring. In July 1995, Mrtin Frgusn climd W hv rlly drivn imprvmnts in prductivity nd fficincy t wrkplc lvl, nd tht hs mnt chngs in wrk prctics. I think in sm instncs, tht hs lintd wrkrs, but w hd n ltrntiv. In prctic, this hs mnt tht Th signing f th ccrd hs sn unins d th dirty wrk f mplyrs by bing frcd t sll unpltbl wrkplc rfrms t th mmbrs in th nm f structurl fficincy nd wrd rstructuring, s th issu ws put by th scrtry f th Nrth ustrlin Wrkrs' Unin in 1995. Unin supprt fr cnmic rstructuring hs bn invlubl t businss nd Gvrnmnt, s th LP hs bn bl t us its unin links t dlivr wg rstrint fr th bsss. Frmr Trsurr Jhn Dwkins, Cbint Ministr frm th mid-1980s until 1993, md this clr in spch t businss functin in July 1994:

Whil th Businss Cuncil ccsinlly lmnts its lck f succss nd lck f influnc, it nd its prdcssrs hv, by thir prxis in th Gvrnmnt nd th CTU, chivd mr thn thy culd hv xpctd frm Gvrnmnt f thir frinds.

It is littl wndr thn tht unin rgnistin is dclining crss th cuntry. Unin dnsity (th prprtin f wrkrs in unins) slippd frm 50% t 48% undr th cnsrvtiv Frsr Gvrnmnt f 1975-83 but undr th Hwk nd Kting Lbr Gvrnmnts, it hs flln t 35%. Unin mmbrship plummtd 16% in 1990-94, r by n vrg f mr thn 100,000 ch yr! Fr frm prtcting th unin mvmnt, th CTU's strtgy hs cntributd t its rpid dclin.

Th ccrd: th rich rk it in

It's clr tht th ccrd hs rprsntd gift t businss, s mr stut mplyrs such s Frd nd BHP rcgnis. Prfits rs by t lst 10 pr cnt ch yr btwn 1985 nd 1990 whil rl wgs fr mst wrkrs fll by but 10 pr cnt. Cmpny txs wr cut frm 48 pr cnt t 39 pr cnt. Th frtuns f th Businss Rviw Wkly `Tp 100' rs frm $3.1 billin t mssiv $21.2 billin btwn 1983 nd 1989. Th rsult ws mjr rdistributin f wlth frm wgs t prfits (s Chrt 1).

Th CTU dfndd wg cuts by rguing tht wrkrs' rl living stndrds wr bing prtctd by incrss in th `scil wg' (wlfr, hlth, ductin tc.). But, s w cn s frm Chrt 2, th incrs in th scil wg did nt nrly mk up fr th cut in rl wgs in py pckts.

Fr whil th ccrd strtgy pprd t wrk. Th wrld cnmy pickd up in th rly 1980s nd ustrli bgn t rcvr frm th 1982-83 rcssin. Ntinl utput incrsd nnully n vrg by 3.4 pr cnt btwn 1983 nd 1990, mplymnt grw by 3 pr cnt ch yr, nd unmplymnt fll frm 10 pr cnt t 6 pr cnt.

Hwvr, th ustrlin cnmy culd nt scp th systm's histric bm-bust cycl nd in mid-1990 Kting's `sft lnding' turnd int ns-div. Mnufcturing utput fll by 8 pr cnt nd prfits by 40%. Hwvr, it ws wrkrs wh suffrd mst, s mplyrs tk t `dwnsizing' with vngnc. Tw millin (r n in fur) jbs dispprd in th thr yrs 1990-93 s ustrlin mplyrs cut stff t mr thn dubl th pc f thir cmptitrs in th Unitd Stts. Unmplymnt incrsd rpidly t 11 pr cnt, th wrst prfrmnc f ny Wstrn cnmy.

ftr tw yrs f shrp rcssin th cnmic rcvry fficilly strtd in rly 1992, nd by mid-1994 ustrli nd Nw Zlnd, with grwth rts f 4-5 pr cnt, ld th CD. But just s in th 1980s, it's th businss sctr tht hs crmd ff th wlth bing crtd. Cmpny prfits dubld frm 1991 t 1994 s prductivity in th mnufcturing sctr jumpd by mr thn 25%. Cmpny txs wr cut furthr, frm 39 pr cnt t 33 pr cnt in th ugust 1993 budgt, rprsnting windfll gin f $2 billin t th businss sctr. vn with th cutbcks f th 1995 budgt, this ws nly liftd bck t 36 pr cnt.

ustrli's tp xcutivs hv dn thmslvs prud ut f th rcvry s thir slry pckgs incrsd frm n vrg f $400,000 t $800,000 btwn 1989 nd 1994, with th tp high-flirs t Wstpc, BHP, Pinr Intrntinl nd Wstfild rking in btwn $1.5 millin nd $2 millin in 1995. In Tlcm, th numbr f snir xcutivs `rning' pckgs f t lst hlf millin dllrs jumpd frm n t 11 in 1994 s th cmpny md prfits f $1.7 billin. n rsult f ll this hs bn tht ustrli hs xprincd th fstst grwth in inqulity thrughut th Wst sinc th rly 1980s, with th xcptin nly f Nw Right nirvns, Britin nd Nw Zlnd. Th Gvrnmnt plns furthr hnd-uts with its prpsd privtistin f irprts, Tlcm nd thr infrstructur, fllwing its plns t fully privtis th Cmmnwlth Bnk nd Qnts.

Whil businss cffrs swlld, th rcvry ws truly jblss rcvry in its rly stgs s crprt blnc shts wr rvivd by furthr mss rdundncis. Unmplymnt ctully rs vr th curs f 1992-93. Sinc Lbr's r-lctin in 1993 hwvr, mplymnt hs grwn, nd by th middl f 1995 unmplymnt ws dwn t 8.3%. vn s, this is still rcvry frm which wrkrs r gtting prcius littl. Mny f th nw jbs r distinctly lw-grd: 1994 study by th Gvrnmnt's Buru f Industry cnmics fund n incrsing prprtin f prt-tim jbs, tndncy fr unmplyd wrkrs t us thir rdundncy py t st up in bck-yrd slf-mplymnt, nd gnrl rcycling f bttr jbs int wrs jbs, frm uninisd t nn-unin nd frm prmnnt t csuls, th s-clld `McJbs'. Btwn 1982 nd 1994, nly 15% f ll th jbs crtd wr clssifid s `full-tim prmnnt' fr (s th Buru's study put it) t th xtnt tht firms nd dditinl lbur rsurcs, thy will usully b tmprry mplys r sub-cntrct lbur. Th rsult hs bn tht th numbr f full-tim jbs in mid-1995 ws still 180,000 fwr thn t th bginning f th rcssin.

Wht's mr, th situtin is nt ging t imprv, bcus mny mplyrs pln furthr cuts. Univrsity f Qunslnd survy f 650 snir mngrs in 1995 fund tht 33% f privt cmpnis nd 71% f public ntrpriss wr plnning t cut full-tim jbs in th fllwing tw yrs, whil 60% f ll mngrs wr ls plnning t incrs wrklds t th sm tim. S th prspcts fr full mplymnt r s dim s vr.

Th prblm is tht th trmndus rdistributin f wrkrs' incm frm wgs t prfits ds nthing t slv ustrli's undrlying cnmic difficultis. Thrughut 1995, nly tw yrs ftr unmplymnt stppd rising, businss cmmnttrs wr nxiusly pring t th blnc f trd figurs, cnvincd tht th Gvrnmnt wuld hv t stp in nc gin t bring rcvry t hlt by jcking up intrst rts. This indicts th grdul dcy t th hrt f th systm, which mns tht mplyrs hv t us th pprtunitis prsntd by ntrpris brgining t intnsify wrk prssur nd cut jbs s wy f mintining thir cmptitiv dg vr thir rivls. Th prblm fr thm, nd fr us, is tht bsss ll vr th wrld r ding xctly th sm, which mns tht, n snr hv thy wn tmprry cmptitiv dvntg thn it is rdd by similr `brkthrughs' (ttcks n wrkrs' rights) in thr cuntris.

Lbr's cnmic plicis, supprtd t th hilt by th CTU, hv gt ustrlin wrkrs nwhr. Rlling bck ntrpris brgining mns turning bck th whl cnmic rtinlist gnd nd wuld b stp frwrd fr wrkrs' intrsts.


W CN s tht ntrpris brgining thrtns jbs nd wrking cnditins. But hw cn it b stppd? T nswr this qustin w nd t b clr but th fcts nd th rgumnts tht cn win.

Dn't w hv t incrs prductivity t kp ur jbs?

WHIL mny wrkrs undrstnd tht th whl LP-CTU prgrmm hs givn thm nthing, thy still ccpt id is tht if w wrk hrdr, llwing ur mplyr t kp hd f th cmptitin, t cut csts nd s frth, w cn nsur prfits nd thrfr mintin ur jbs.

But th vidnc shws tht this rgumnt is full f hls. Gvrnmnt study hs msurd th chngs in mplymnt nd prductivity t ll th mjr gvrnmnt ntrpriss in th fiv yrs t 1992-93. Ths r th rsults:

Prductivity nd mplymnt in Gvrnmnt ntrpriss 1987-88 t 1992-93


Lbur Prductivity


lctricity Supply









Urbn Trnsprt









ustrli Pst






ll Gvrnmnt ntrpriss



Surc: String Cmmitt n Ntinl Prfrmnc Mnitring f Gvrnmnt Trding ntrpriss, Scnd nnul Rprt, 1994, GPS.

fllw-up rprt shwd tht prductivity in th ky utilitis incrsd by furthr 14% in 1994 lrgly du t lrg fll in lbur inputs.

Th situtin is th sm in th privt sctr. t BHP's stl divisin th numbr f wrkrs mplyd hs flln by mr thn 40 pr cnt sinc 1983 whil prductivity hs tripld frm 200 t 600 tnns f stl pr wrkr. Th rwrd fr th cmpny ws cmbind tw-yrly prfit f $2.2 billin ut f th rcvry f 1993-95. This is th cmpny whs chif xcutiv prudly bsts tht imprving prductivity is n ndlss tsk. Similrly t th Ntinl ustrli Bnk, which cut thusnds f jbs during nd ftr th rcssin, prfits cm in t nrly $2 billin in 1994-95. Th cr industry rprsnts th mst xtrm cs f this n-win chs fr prductivity: dspit significnt incrss in prductivity nd cuts in mplymnt in th 1980s, Nissn hs shut up shp, Frd hs clsd its Hmbush plnt nd Tyt is clsing its plnts t Prt Mlburn nd Dndnng.

vry industry shws th sm glmy rcrd. N mttr hw much w incrs prductivity, mngmnt's rply is th sm: mr sckings.

f curs, it's n cincidnc tht jbs r bing msscrd t th sm tim s prductivity is climbing rpidly. s wrkrs wrk hrdr, giv up lng-ccptd wrking cnditins, gr t cvr fr ch thr nd bcm `multi-skilld', thy invit th bsss t cut th numbr f wrkrs mplyd.

Th cnnctin btwn prductivity incrss nd jb lsss is clrst in industris whr thr is n physicl utput t b msurd. In rs such s ductin, hlth nd thr public srvics, wg incrss thrugh ntrpris grmnts r dpndnt lmst ntirly n `prductivity incrss' chivd thrugh rducing stffing lvls, lding t incrsing clss sizs, dcrsing numbrs f nurss n ch hspitl wrd, th clsur f hspitl wrds nd rducd clint srvic. Wrkrs mplyd in ths industris nd ths wh dn't hv ccss t privt ductin nd privt hlth r th clr lsrs. Fur ut f fiv stff in th hlth, cmmunity srvics nd ductin sctrs rprtd t th Gvrnmnt's 1994 brgining survy tht thy wr wrs ff s rsult f wrkplc chngs tht ccurrd in 1994, with ths in wrkplcs with fdrl ntrpris grmnts fling th mst ggrivd.

Wht's wrs is tht mplyrs us wrkrs' willingnss t cmpt t knck dwn cnditins fr ll f us. Th bst xmpl f this is t Hinz, which md prfits f $18 millin in 1991 nd whs chif xcutiv, Tny 'Rilly, njys n nnul slry pckg f $8 millin. Rsults such s ths wrn't nugh fr th cmpny's dirctrs, hwvr. Hving tkn vr Wtti's, Nw Zlnd fd cmpny, in th rly 1990s, Hinz ustrli thn tld wrkrs in Mlburn in 1992 tht unlss thy mtchd th cncssins md by wrkrs t Wtti's, th plnt wuld cls. Using divid nd rul tctics, thy wr bl t scrw dwn wgs nd cnditins fr wrkrs in bth cuntris. Th CTU grd t n `mrgncy pckg' f 210 jb cuts nd th intrductin f 7-dy, 24-hur prtins, with cntinuus shift-wrk.

Hinz is gd xmpl f wht hs bn hppning t ustrlin wrkrs fr th lst fiv yrs: ll pin nd littl gin. vry trd-ff tht w mk in ntrpris brgining ngtitins, fr frm imprving jb scurity in th futur, ctully prprs th wy fr yt mr jb cuts.

rn't ur cnditins sf with wrds s minimum stndrds?

Th Gvrnmnt nd mny unin ldrs sy tht th wrd systm prtcts us by mintining crtin minimum cnditins. Th Industril Rltins Cmmissin's ntrpris brgining principls stt tht grmnts must nt invlv rductin in rdinry tim rnings r dprturs frm Cmmissin stndrds f hurs f wrk, nnul lv with py r lng srvic lv with py. nd th mndd Industril Rltins ct sys tht th Cmmissin must crtify ny grmnt tht ds nt disdvntg th mplys cvrd by it.

Hwvr, whil this my lk K n ppr, ny skilld mplyr rprsnttiv culd driv cch nd hrss thrugh this t tribunl hring. Wht cnstituts `disdvntg' t wrkrs? In prctic, th Cmmissin nd nly b stisfid tht wrkrs r nt disdvntgd whn ll lmnts f th grmnt r lkd t s whl. This mns tht pnlty rts, fr xmpl, cn sily b scrppd bcus thr my b sm crumbs f cmpnstin fr wrkrs in thr rs f th grmnt.

vrll, w cn b sur tht ntrpris brgining will rd wrd cnditins in th lng-trm. s Luri Brrtn himslf bsts, th n-disdvntg tst llws fr wid rng f vritins t wrd cnditins, whil his Dprtmnt's 1994 survy f svrl hundrd grmnts cmmnts tht th high incidnc f cluss dling with mplymnt cnditins suggsts tht chngs t wrd cnditins r cmmn. mplyrs my b willing t ffr wht sm lik gd dls s first stp t gtting wrkrs invlvd in ntrpris brgining. Th cncssins invlvd, such s multi-skilling, rmvl f dmrctin nd chngs in rstring rrngmnts my sm minr. In th lng-run, hwvr, such cncssins hlp mplyrs shd jbs nd undrmin unin rgnistin.

In th Qunslnd trnsprt industry, fr xmpl, whr th Trnsprt Wrkrs Unin (TWU) hs ngtitd grmnts fr $25 py riss withut tuching wrd cnditins, th unin hs ls grd t c-prt with mngmnt t cut bsntism nd t limint th trditinl dmrctin btwn drivrs nd mintnnc nd rpir crws. Mr gnrlly, it hs grd with th mplyrs tht it is th unin's rspnsibility t find wys t cut csts s wy f funding py incrss.

t ustrli Pst, th ntrpris grmnt mintins th wrd in mst rs but it ls ffrs shift wrkrs th `right' t sll bck thir xtr n-wk lv ntitlmnt, mking nnsns f wrd prvisins fr nnul lv.

In Tlcm, th CWU prmisd mmbrs tht thir ntrpris grmnt wuld nt ffct wrd cnditins nd ssurd thm tht thy wrn't giving wy much t gt 3 pr cnt py ris. In prctic, th unin hs grd t frcd rtrnchmnts, t mngmnt bing llwd t ssign rstrd dys ff n ny dy f th wk (limiting th pssibility fr wrkrs t tk thr-dy wknds), nd t th us f n-prsn prtins ut n th rd. Mngmnt hv cm bck in th scnd rund, dmnding th intrductin f `prfrmnc rviws', furthr multiskilling, n xtnsin f hurs nd cuts t sris f vr-wrd cnditins. ll ths chngs simply pv th wy fr furthr mss sckings.

In cnditins f lrg-scl unmplymnt thr will lwys b prssur n wrkrs t ccpt grmnts, vn if thy undrcut wrd cnditins, fr fr f lsing jbs if thy rfus. Brrtn hs md this clr: th nw rgultins llw fr grd rductins [in py nd cnditins] if ths r judgd nt t b ginst th public intrst, fr xmpl, s prt f strtgy fr dling with shrt-trm businss crisis nd rvivl. Wht cmpny culdn't mk cs tht it is undrging shrt-trm businss crisis! W'v lrdy sn th cuts t cnditins t th SPC fruit cnnry in Shpprtn in 1990. Mr rcntly, t th Bnd's clthing fctry in nrthrn NSW, rgin with n f ustrli's highst rginl unmplymnt rts, th grmnt signd by th unin incrss th sprd f rdinry hurs, such tht ll wrk dn btwn 7.00 m nd 10.30 pm is pid t rdinry rts nly. Th grmnt ls cntins n gurnt f minimum wkly hurs, whil llwing wrking wk f up t 48 hurs. This clrly undrcuts th wrd, but th cmpny rgud tht `cnmic circumstncs' llwd thm n ltrntiv nd th grmnt ws duly crtifid.

Th thrt t wrd cnditins hs bn md vn mr plin with Lbr's tw gifts t th bsss in 1994: nn-unin ntrpris grmnts nd th s-clld `trining wg'.

s sn s th Gvrnmnt ws r-lctd in Mrch 1993, th big mplyr grups put it undr intns prssur t incrs th pc f ntrpris brgining. In pril Kting prmisd th Institut f Cmpny Dirctrs t mk ntrpris grmnts full substituts fr wrds, nd in ctbr th Gvrnmnt tbld its Rfrm ct intrducing nn-unin ntrpris grmnts. Lik ll f Lbr's rfrms, th prvisin in th Industril Rltins Rfrm ct fr nn-unin grmnts is simply n mr ptin fr mplyrs t cut jbs nd cnditins.

Th min dngr with ths `ntrpris flxibility grmnts' (Fs) is nt tht fld f nn-unin cmpnis will suddnly rush t ngtit thm: in th first 15 mnths f th nw ct, nly 70 Fs wr rgistrd in th Cmmissin nd mst wr t uninisd cmpnis. Rthr, th prblm is tht thy giv uninisd cmpnis th pprtunity t dictt cnditins t thir nn-unin sits nd xclud rlvnt unins with mmbrs lswhr in th cmpny frm hving ny rl sy in stting wgs nd wrking cnditins. ny bjctins frm unins r put dwn t th ctivitis f n `xtrnl rgnistin' r `third prty'. Th intntin is clrly t put prssur n uninisd brgining lswhr in th cmpny cncrnd.

Thus Fs r gun tht bsss cn hld t th hd f unin ngtitrs if thy r `bstint' in trding ff cnditins. This ws dn in July 1995 t Hllmrk Crds whr th mtlwrkrs nd printing unins wr rfusing t mk cncssins dmndd by th bsss, in prticulr n th issu f vrtim. Th cmpny thn pprchd wrkrs dirctly, wn thir supprt fr th cmpny's prpsls in bllt, nd thn hd th chngs cmntd in plc s n F.

T th xtnt tht nn-uninisd cmpnis d us nn-unin grmnts t undrcut wrds, such grmnts cn b usd s bttring rm t brk dwn cnditins f uninisd wrkrs. n lk t th first nn-unin dl in th mtl industry is nugh t s wht mplyrs will intrduc if givn fr hnd. Strtic Pty Ltd, cmpny mplying 73 wrkrs mking scurity drs in Brisbn, hs intrducd n F which prvids fr:

n gurntd py ris nd ny wg incrs t b dtrmind by `prfrmnc'

minimum f 4 hurs wrk wk

n gurntd knck-ff tim

th bss t dcid whthr h is stisfid wrkrs r sick

ll vrtim cut t tim nd hlf

hlth nd sfty issus dcidd by th bss

Ths kinds f grmnts r cncr thrtning cnditins fr wrkrs thrughut th mtl industry, but thy cn b stppd. In July 1994 250 whrfis t Frmntl wnt n strik ginst smll cmpny intrducing cnditin-cutting nn-unin ntrpris grmnt. Whil th grmnt nly dirctly ffctd 7 wrkrs, th whrfis knw tht bsss in uninisd cmpnis wuld sn strt rguing fr similr cnditins in thir wn rgnistins.

In thr rs, mplyrs r putting prssur n wrkrs t lv thir unins nd sign stff cntrcts. Th mining gint CR hs dclrd wr n th unins t its wrksits nd hs succssfully bust th unins t svrl sits. Th prblm fr uninists is tht th crrt f 10-15% py ris dngld in frnt f wrkrs, in xchng fr signing nt `stff cnditins' nd th cmplt dstructin f dmrctin, bcms n ttrctiv ptin whn thir unins r ithr filing t win ny py riss t ll r whn thy rgrd 4% py ris s significnt victry. Whn chllngd by wrkrs t utlin th dvntgs f stying in thir unin in ths circumstncs, lding fficils r unbl t giv cnvincing nswrs. lthugh utright unin-busting f this typ is still nt th dminnt mplyr tctic, mvs by Qnts nd th Cmmnwlth Bnk in ugust 1995 t stp cllcting unin dus my b strw in th wind.

Th bsss hv ls bn givn nthr wpn in thir rmury, with nw prvisins in th Industril Rltins Rfrm ct tht nbl mplyrs t tk lgl ctin t prvnt unins frm striking xcpt in th mst rstrictd circumstncs: th bility f unins t strik t blck scb nn-unin dls is furthr wknd by this lgisltin.

Figurs frm th Buru f Sttistics shw wht's t stk fr wrkrs nd mplyrs if nn-unin grmnts tk ff. Nn-unin blu nd whit-cllr wrkrs gt t lst $50 nd s much s $150 lss in wgs thn uninisd mplys. Nn-unin wrkrs ls gt infrir cnditins f mplymnt in rs such s suprnnutin, hlidy lv, sick lv nd lng srvic lv.

Th scnd giv-wy fr ustrlin bsss, intrducd within yr f Lbr bing rturnd t ffic, ws th `trining wg' which ws sld, quit ccurtly, s Lbr t its btstrps. Th whl mplymnt Whit Ppr ws ctully tstimny t Lbr's filur in lvn yrs in ffic t dlivr nything lik full mplymnt. In 1978 th Lbr Prty hd dnuncd th cllus `Hrrr Budgt' intrducd by Mlclm Frsr whn thr wr 60,000 lng-trm unmplyd. By th tim Lbr tk ffic in 1983, th rcssin f 1982-83 hd rsultd in lng-trm unmplymnt incrsing t 200,000. Tn yrs ltr, undr Lbr, th figur hd grwn t 370,000. Th Gvrnmnt's rctin ws t intrduc its `Jbs Cmpct', llwing mplyrs t tk n cut-pric lbur with subsidis f up t $260 pr wk. Cmbining th chp wg nd subsidy, mplyrs r bl t hir lbur fr $10 pr wk, with n rquirmnt t kp th `trin' n th pyrll whn th subsidy xpirs ftr 6 r 12 mnths. Th min purps f this schm is nt t ffr hp fr yung wrkrs f rl jbs t dcnt rts f py but t incrs th pl f `jb-rdy' lbur which cn b usd t incrs cmptitin fr jbs nd kp dwn wgs in th currnt rcvry.

Th CTU hs ccptd bth th prvisin fr nn-unin ntrpris grmnts nd th trining wg dspit th bvius thrts tht thy ps t uninisd wrkrs. It is hmstrung in its ppsitin t furthr ttcks bcus it ccpts th businss nd Gvrnmnt gnd tht ur wgs nd cnditins shuld b dtrmind by th dmnds f intrntinl cmptitin. Wrkrs will b drivn int cmpting vr mr vigrusly with wrkrs in thr cmpnis, r vn with wrkrs in thr divisins f th sm cmpny r ntrpris, ll fr th sk f th prfit mrgins.

Wn't wg rstrint hlp cut unmplymnt?

Unin supprt fr wg rstrint in th 1980s nd th trining wg in th 1990s is bsd n th id tht mplyrs will tk n mr lbur if wgs r kpt dwn. But this is cmpltly mistkn. In th cs f th trining wg, th likly impct is tht ths tkn n will simply substitut fr wrkrs currntly mplyd n full wgs - s th LP itslf rgud whn it cmpignd ginst th Clitin's yuth wg prpsl bfr th 1993 lctin. Mr gnrlly, thr is n vidnc tht th vrll lvl f wgs hs ny significnt impct n mplymnt r unmplymnt. W'v lrdy sn hw th jbs crtd in th 1980s wr swpt wy by th rcssin f 1990-92. study cnductd by th Dprtmnt f Industril Rltins in 1990 fund tht in nly 4 pr cnt f css did bsss sck wrkrs bcus wgs wr t high.

Th situtin is th sm vrss. Thr is mssiv unmplymnt crisis thrughut th Wst, with 24 millin unmplyd in th big G7 cnmis ln, but thr is n rltinship btwn unmplymnt nd cuntris with high wgs. Trditinlly, th rltinship hs bn th ppsit: urpn cuntris with high wgs (prticulrly in Scndinvi nd Grmny) hv hd lw unmplymnt nd ths with lw wgs (prticulrly in Suthrn urp) hv hd vry high unmplymnt. Tw sprt studis by Grmn nd Swdish cnmists in 1986 nd 1991 rviwd th CD xprinc frm th 1960s t th 1980s nd cncludd tht wg lvls r chngs in wgs hd n rltinship t th grwth f unmplymnt thrughut th Wst.

Clrly, ny id tht ccpting wg rstrint thrugh cncssins in ntrpris grmnts will sk up th unmplyd is nn-strtr.

Cn't ntrpris brgining b usd t imprv things fr wmn?

Sm supprtrs f ntrpris brgining suggst tht wmn cn ngtit t hv thir wrking wk rrgnisd t tk ccunt f childcr rrngmnts r thir nd t lk ftr sick childrn. But th rlity is vry diffrnt. Th rgumnt rlis n th id tht wmn wrkrs will gt t dcid hw thy wuld lik t rrgnis thir wk. In prctic, it is th mplyrs wh dcid n th schdul, nt n th bsis f wrkrs' nds, but n th bsis f pk wrk rquirmnts. This hs bn th xprinc f flxibl wrk schduling t ustrli Pst nd in th public srvic, nd tw-thirds f wmn rspnding t th Gvrnmnt's 1994 survy sy tht chngs t wrk vr th curs f th yr md blncing btwn wrk nd fmily mr difficult.

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