Rare as hen?s teeth this sort of union boss

Who would have thought you’d ever hear a union boss face reality…and even speak up about it.

Rapacious unions and stupid subsidies have seen the end of Holden and Ford manufacturing in Australia, while rampant union corruption is a festering sore in many states.

One of Australia’s most senior union officials has criticised the industrial relations system for “dragging Australia down” and fired a broadside at “criminals” who betrayed the union movement and hijacked its agenda.

Australian Workers Union chief Paul Howes has called for a “grand compact” between business and unions to take the heat out of the industrial relations debate and admitted wages in some sectors had increased too quickly.

The speech was declared a “disgrace” by the Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt, who said the AWU leader was “giving ammunition to Tony Abbott’s attack on Australian wages” and should resign his post.

Mr Howes warned the resources boom was now over and that Australia faced a jobs crisis, with 130,000 losses since the global financial crisis and “tens of thousands more lie just around the corner”.

Mr Howes urged his comrades in the union movement to concede there had been a pattern of unsustainable wages growth in some sectors of the economy, adding “we could be pricing ourselves out of the market”. ?

He said “the leap-frog wage outcomes in the offshore sector, in particular, are not going to be sustainable for the long-term”.

But he urged business to concede that on an economy wide basis, industrial disputes had fallen and wages growth had slowed.

“Perhaps they [business] might agree – penalty rates and the minimum wage are fundamental planks of our social contract and should remain.”

The union national secretary said the industrial relations see-saw in Australia, which has seen a range of legislative changes in the last decade and a half and contributed to a “perpetual instability” in the IR system.

“Some will tell you that our industrial relations system is dragging us down.

“And I won’t be popular amongst my friends in the labour movement for saying this – but I agree,” he said.

“This culture of perpetual instability means business and unions believe – quite reasonably – they don’t need to co-operate today – because they’ll be able to rewrite the rules tomorrow.”

Sheesh…this guy probably now has bodyguards as the unions try to run him out of town on rail.

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