This article is a transcription of the interview between Edward Black and Stephen Petith.
Labor’s, same job, same pay policy. It’s been getting a lot of attention from what I’ve been hearing and seeing, especially from business owners and experienced workers.
Recently, legislation have been forcing employers and business owners to pay labor hire the same rate as direct employees, so can you share to everyone why business owners and people with experience are not happy with this new law? And what effects will it have on our workforce and our economy if Labor continues to enforce it?
Yeah, this is a terrible, terrible law and it has to be stopped, and you see the big employer groups actually coming out now against it. The intent is that a person employed full time, working alongside someone from a Labor hire company who could be there for a three-month contract, is paid the same.
Once again, this is union stuff, so this law is really about union membership. It’s got nothing else to do. Union membership and union power on work sites. One of the big things I have noticed driving around the Gold Coast and Southeast Queensland, and actually when I was in Sydney last, was the amount of construction sites that have the CFMEU flag flying in about 50 different places, and that hasn’t been as bolder in Queensland, probably until the last state election, and also more the last federal election. And they’re really now flexing their power.
This is a Labor nod to the union movement, because people employed by labour hire companies aren’t unionists, right? They tend to not be unionists. Union membership is on the massive slide. I think it’s 8% of all workforce is covered by a union and that’s it, and the thing that’s really bad about that is labour is 50% governed by the unions, and unions represent 8% of the workforce. So if you think about it, it’s really only 4% of the workforce, because you’re not going to get a union person who is basically centre right and right.
It’s only 50% of the population. So it’s 8%, really. It’s 4% of the population, 4% of the workforce. So it’s a very small minority that controls a very big chunk of the Labor Party. No decision in the Labor Party goes down without the union’s say. You saw that in WA. The new WA Premier was put there by the unions by telling, (I can’t think of a name), that the female basically stepped down and shut up, which is so much for women and power and all that sort of stuff.
The unions hate women more than anyone, so it’s really bad juju to have such a small minority controlling such a large part of a political force. Now, why is this law bad outside of the context of labour hire versus direct?
Now, in general, you’ve got a small business and you’ve got two people who are straight out of school, who are doing the same machinist job. Let’s pick CNC machining. You got someone who’s just out of their apprenticeship, who is a qualified tradesman, but doesn’t have the 35 years’ experience of a guy that used to do it by hand and can just see what’s wrong. So you’ve got the machinist on, I’m just picking around numbers here, $50k a year. The guy that’s straight out of apprenticeship.
But the guy that’s been doing it for 35 years and knows the ins and outs of the machine and can just look at something and say it’s not right, or listen to something and say it’s not right, or can go, well, if you actually did this and this, it’s going to get a better outcome. You’ve got him on 100 grand a year.
As an employer, you’ve got to put both of those people on the same wage. You can’t have a discrepancy. So what’s going to happen?
You’re going to have, instead of having the apprentice, the guy that’s just out of his apprenticeship, looking up to a guy that’s got 35 years’ experience going, I’m going to work to get to where he is. It’s going to drive ambition and achievement and all that sort of stuff. All of a sudden. Now what’s going to happen is the guy with shitloads of experience is only going to get employed at 60 grand and the guy out of his apprenticeship is going to get 60 grand because what will happen is the lower guy won’t drift up to the higher wage. Doesn’t happen that way, never does. It always floats back to the lower end. So this is a wage busting law.
So pretty much as employers you’re now going to be going, what do I do? The best thing for my business is actually to employ all those whitehead guys who have all the knowledge and experience and fuck anyone else with no experience, which is bad for the industry because what happens then is there’s no mentorship, there’s no passing of knowledge, there’s no incentive for people to work harder and longer hours.
Pretty much everyone just budges and does fucking nothing, so our productivity goes backwards. It’s really bad for industries that rely on knowledge transfer trades, so called backbone of the union movement, right? And funnily enough, the largest representation of union workers is actually public sector teachers, fieriest, ambos, public servants. They have more influence over the union movement than tradesmen and so forth. And you’ll find most tradies and all that sort of stuff these days are self-employed contractors anyway, so they’re not part of the union.
So for a small businessman, in one way it means you’re going to pay less, but you’re not going to get the grey hair because the grey hair is going to go, “why would I work for less when I can just retire?”
So they’ll take the pension, they’ll take the quick, easy, and cheap way out and we’re going to lose a massive amount of knowledge out of the industry. We’re seeing that across all industries at the moment, we just can’t afford it, and what it’s going to do is keep wages alone, because even when you’ve got someone with no experience and they get two or three years of experience, the guys behind them coming through, well, you’ve got to put them on the same wage.
It’s just going to put an artificial cap on wages, it’s going to put an artificial cap on knowledge transfer, it’s going to put an artificial cap on growth and on achievement and on everything. But once again, if you put your socialist cap on and look at this through the lens of a Labor person, that’s what they want.
They sprout they want wage growth and they want all this sort of stuff. But have a look at their actions. Their actions say and do the 100% opposite. Their actions say they’re sorry, their words say they want jobs here in Australia, but their actions say that jobs are going to go further and further overseas.
That’s why this seemingly simple legislation with a fancy name, same job, same pay, is disastrous for this country. If that gets up, we will see factories and industries pretty much wiped out, and I’m talking SMEs (small-medium enterprises) will be wiped out and taken over by big enterprises who basically have the union shops and can afford, which means that all your prices are going to go up.
But once again, that’s what Labor wants. Labor does not want a workforce that is not being run and pretty much the coalition is on the same boat as well.
At the moment, the Moderates in the coalition are pretty much a Labor. So they want, through their actions, a dumbed down workforce that is controlled by oligarchies at the top.
Sounds horrible. So what was the logic behind this decision?
It was Labor driven, it was 100% a payback for the Labor move. That’s all it was.
Once again, Australia being classic Australia, right?
Yeah. In some ways, this is why Australia shoots itself in the foot every second chance it gets. It doesn’t matter who’s in power is because we don’t have a large enough economy for the size of the country and we don’t, which means we don’t have a large enough population base to sustain everything that we need to have happen in this country. I’m a believer we should be probably double in size minimum to actually make our economy just dish.
The reason that America will still be very successful and be a driving economic force in the world after the transition of empire away from it over to China, Russia or whatever it’s going to breathe, the BRICS nations, is because of its 390,000,000 people. Those numbers are just a snowballing.
Internal things go round and you have great economies, 25 million people, or 26 or whatever we are. You’re just scratching the surface. You don’t have enough to have any more than Geopolis everywhere, and if you have a look at this country, that’s what we’ve got. We’ve pretty much got in every major industry duopoly everywhere, and that’s because we don’t have the large mass in economic power.
Do you have this same job, same pay policy? Is it actually going ahead or do you think there’ll be enough pushback to stop it?
At this stage? From what I can gather, it’s got the vote and what’s actually another thing that’s happening in Parliament at the moment is that the government’s housing fund, housing future fund or whatever it’s called, is stored and I think they might have even pulled it back.
I haven’t looked at what happened in the last anyway fully, but they don’t have the numbers to get it passed. So they can’t afford to have another bill get blocked by the Senate because that will get to the point where the government can strike a double disillusioned lecture. You have one bill defeated twice in the Senate and that gives you the trigger to have a double disillusion.
Now, I think I mentioned this last week that it could be something Labor would sit on because they won’t want it because we’re going to have a convergence of big states having elections. WA, Queensland, New South Wales, I think it lies all having elections within an eight-month period or even a twelve-month period.
And Labor won’t want to be going to a federal election during that time, which is where they’re going to get forced. So what they could be doing is putting up contentious legislation like this to create a double dissolution election. Which means that not only does the House, but both sides of the Senate, all come up for election at the one time.
Now that could yield Labor the extra votes that it needs then in the Senate because it will go after seats here in Queensland and WA on the back of or just before Queensland and WA have their state elections, where the state governments are a bit on the nose, a bit shaky, had leaders transition and so on.
So we’re in for some interesting political moves, 3D chess type movements are happening at the moment. Albo has let slip at a couple of press conferences or a couple of speeches that he won’t say no to going early and it could very well be something that actually saves him rather than works against him. Watch this space. But we’re going to be in for some interesting election cycle stuff coming up.
End of interview.
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