Union bosses losing touch with reality over pay demands

 

THE Queensland union movement needs an urgent clean-out, starting at the top. Events of the past few days prove beyond doubt that these people are incapable of acting in the best interests of Queensland.

Good leadership during tough times sets apart the men from the boys and that's why any union boss promulgating pay rises for their members during the coronavirus should be shuffled off into retirement.

So on your bike Peter Ong, of the Electrical Trades Union. Out the door Alex Scott from the Together Union. Let's also throw in Queensland Council of Unions boss Michael Clifford.

ETU state secretary Peter Ong has called for the State Government to honour promised pay rises.
ETU state secretary Peter Ong has called for the State Government to honour promised pay rises.

As unemployment queues grow by the day - it's expected 1.7 million Aussies will be out of work by mid April - these blokes wanted the state's 224,000 public servants to get a 2.5 per cent pay rise.

Their extraordinary lack of emotional intelligence was only matched by their petulance when Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk knocked the pay rise on the head.

Ong said his members felt "betrayed and abandoned". I could understand them feeling betrayed and abandoned if Ms Palaszczuk had cut their salaries by 50 per cent - which many in the private sector are enduring - but at least they've still got a job.

To compound this behaviour, Ong is opposing in the Industrial Court a move by CV Services for its workers to forgo a 3 per cent pay rise because of the impact of the coronavirus.

More than 80 per cent of the affected staff voted to forgo the pay rise. So despite the overwhelming majority of his workers being appreciative that they've still got work and are prepared to forgo the pay increase, Ong is pursuing the wage rise through the courts. I don't like his chances for Queenslander of the Year.

His mates, Scott and Clifford, are cut from the same cloth. The money saved on a 2.5 per cent pay rise for public servants - and it would be significant - could be put into frontline health services to keep people alive during this crisis.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says public servants will not be getting pay rises while the coronavirus crisis rolls on. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says public servants will not be getting pay rises while the coronavirus crisis rolls on. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

And why did it even get to this point? Treasurer Jackie Trad and Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace should have said right from the start of this process, "there will be no pay rises this year''.

Instead they squibbed it, leaving it to the Premier to deliver the bad news. If this was a captain's call by the Premier, it was the right one. With Labor on the nose in the regions, there would have been some very nervous ALP regional backbenchers hoping she intervened.

The last thing Labor needed was to go into the election in October with a perception that during the worst financial crisis in Australia's modern history, fat cat public servants were getting pay rises.

Contrast the Queensland unions with the performance of ACTU president Sally McManus, who has jumped on board Team Australia and smoothed the industrial landscape for the Morrison Government at this time of crisis. She gets the big picture.

Ms Palaszczuk has also indicated politicians will not get pay rises this year. What this saga demonstrates to the public is that in Queensland, the unions are so used to getting their own way with Labor governments that they've lost touch with reality.

Just like Transurban, who want to put tolls up in Sydney and Melbourne, the public have long memories when it comes to this sort of stuff.

Their lack of common sense and empathy for those thrown out of work is breathtaking. Their business model is simple. Screw everybody.

There is nothing wrong with public servants getting pay rises, just like anybody else in the private sector whose companies are doing well.

But the timing is terrible. Unions want their members to secure 2.5 per cent salary rises from July 1 at a time when the unemployment rate in this country is likely to be 20 per cent.

Have they seen the queues at Centrelink? The anguish and heartache on the faces of hardworking Australians who suddenly find themselves - many for the first time - in the dole queue?

Have they not noticed that everybody is feeling some pain right now? And yet the union movement in Queensland wants to reward an already bloated public service with wage rises, on top of the $1250 so-called bonus.

Madness. Complete madness. Those in charge of the unions in Queensland should be leading by example and taking a 20 per cent pay cut to show to their workers that they are fair dinkum about being on Team Australia.

The arrogance, combined with this zealotry "what do we want, when do we want it'' mentality, has been fostered by the Left of the Labor Party, and they've lost touch with reality.

The leadership of the Queensland union movement has been laid bare as the ugly sisters of the Australian industrial relations landscape.

They should hang their heads in shame.

Originally published as Union bosses losing touch with reality over pay demands


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