The Morrison government has proposed sweeping changes to Australian labor laws intended to cut wages, entrench precarious work, and cripple unions. The proposed changes would sweep away the remnants of collective bargaining and hand dictatorial power to bosses.
Alison Pennington is an economist with the progressive think tank the Centre for Future Work in Sydney, Australia.
Australia’s employers and federal government have failed to halt COVID-19, while the country’s public health system and union movement have stepped up. The Australian labor movement now has an historic opportunity to push for an alternative to neoliberalism.
Australian workers need an economic bailout to save them from a coronavirus-induced depression. Instead, Scott Morrison’s right-wing government is using the state to attack unions and shovel money to corporations.
The Australian labor movement is internationally envied for the high wages and generous welfare state it won. But the world of work is changing, and if unions don’t change with it, they’ll face existential decline.