A combination of "bargaining electorates" and sector-based agreements could help propel union density past 50% within five years and make employers compete on productivity and quality rather than labour costs, according to a paper delivered at the AIRAANZ conference in Canberra.
More than 27% of public administration, defence, community services and utility workers belong to a union compared with less than 10% in mining and construction, while those of retirement age are significantly more likely to be members than those under 25, according to new research.
Private sector enterprise agreements approved in the September quarter paid an average wage rise of 3.4% a year, after construction deals providing substantial annual increases helped to lifted bargained wage deals out of the doldrums, new Department of Employment data reveals.
Unions have today called for a national plan to manage the shift to more ecologically-sustainable power generation, via measures that include an industry-wide multi-employer pooling and redeployment scheme.
Over the next 15 years the nation should abolish the FWC and modern awards, set the minimum wage "as low as is politically feasible" and let the welfare system top up earnings, according to a new paper from an influential free market think tank.
The NUW and MEAA are among the first unions to change their rules to accept no or low-fee community and associate members since the ACTU's call to transform their membership models by adopting "radical thinking".