The ETU says consumers are losing out due to the growing power of big business.
The ETU says consumers are losing out due to the growing power of big business. Rob Wright

Union workers call for a Change of the Rules

MEMBERS of the Electrical Trades Union on the Mid North Coast met on Monday to kick off a campaign to demand new workplace laws that deliver more secure jobs and better pay for working people.

Electrical Trades Union NSW secretary Dave McKinley gave a briefing on the Change the Rules campaign, which is designed to restore fairness to the industrial landscape.

"Our members know the system is broken, they have seen wages stagnate, job security reduced, penalty rates being cut, and big business using its increasing power to take more than its fair share," Mr McKinley said.

"In recent years, our members at major businesses like Essential Energy have seen how employers can use the system to prevent them from getting a fair deal, with industrial action effectively banned, and the ability of management to threaten to rip up workplace agreements if workers don't accept cuts to conditions.

"At the same time, redundancies, outsourcing, casualisation, and the growing use of labour hire have stripped away job security.

"Big business has been making record profits, but that money isn't being shared around, with workers enduring stagnant wages and apprentice numbers plummeting."

Mr McKinley said consumers were also losing out due to the growing power of big business.

"In the electricity sector, while job numbers have been slashed and services reduced, the prices charged to consumers have continued to rise," he said.

"Stagnant wages, cuts to penalty rates, and a lack of job security have all reduced the spending power of working families, having flow-on impacts throughout the economies of their local communities.

"That's why we are committed to campaigning to change the rules to give working people the basic rights they need to improve their living standards through more secure work and improved wages."