A good idea

Barry O’Farrell is coming up with loads of good ideas, like this one to stop wildcat strikes:

UNIONS calling ”wildcat” strikes face crippling fines of up to $220,000 a day under an exponential increase in penalties for unauthorised industrial action proposed by the Premier, Barry O’Farrell.

The new fines are an 11-fold increase in the penalties for contravening dispute orders of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

They would rise from $10,000 for each day of a first offence to $110,000. The new penalty for a repeat offence rises to $220,000.

Under the changes, the day of action organised by the NSW Teachers Federation last September would have attracted a fine of $220,000 instead of $20,000.

Barry O’Farrell is quickly becoming the Chris Christie and Scott Walker of Australia. He is also adopting something I discussed earlier in the year, the removal of monopoly unions through worker choice:

Mr O’Farrell also announced proposed changes to the Industrial Relations Act to allow an employee to choose which union they join. Under the present system, groups of workers in a particular job can be restricted to coverage by a specific union.

This should be deployed in New Zealand particularly int he Education sector where union monopolies exist.

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  • Vij

    Brilliant.  We should also do that here.  The union must also be held liable for losses incurred by businesses that can’t get their cargo.

  • @BoJangles

    I watched and was impressed with this fellow when I was in  Oz  2010, and now he has the reins, he won’t just sit around like Obama and JK looking at the scenery. He means to make a difference, and I just hope he aspires to federal politics after sorting NSW.   Go BaZZa !!

  • Petal

    I may not remember this correctly, but from memory the (voluntary!) unions in Holland invest part of the dues into a fighting fund.  When the union calls a strike, everyone gets 80% of their pay during the sanctioned strike.  

    If the workers go on strike without the union’s blessing, then it is a wildcat strike – they get no money.

    This, in my mind, is a fantastic way to do it.  One, the business knows that sanctioned strikes have minimal economic harm on the staff.  Two, the union doesn’t call a strike on trivial matters.  Three, unions can be seen to actually provide value for money, so that in a voluntary union environment, people actually *want* to join as a kind of insurance scheme.  Four, the union needs to be careful not to be too employer-friendly by not going out on strike at all, because they would lose membership.

    Even if I made all this up, I still think it’s an admirable approach.  It really does create a good-fair bargaining environment most of the time, and nobody goes out because the union rep isn’t getting any at home and has to take it out on the world.

  • Petal