Union bites Labor

The Community and Public Sector Union will tonight launch an ad “that claims the global financial crisis is putting more pressure on public servants in Centrelink and other departments”.

PUBLIC servants will launch an unprecedented campaign against their political masters today to protect their jobs from budget cuts.

Through the Community and Public Sector Union, the federal bureaucracy will warn the public that essential services will be cut if jobs are slashed.

I guess the union does not realise that they are criticising their own, but the main point is actually true – the government should not cut any public sector jobs in this GFC. It is now more important than ever that the public service is there to support the public.

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65 Responses

  1. Why don’t the union bosses just tell Rudd not to sack anyone? After all, as we’ve been told so many times, he’s just a puppet of the unions :).

  2. I don’t think that public service jobs need to be cut. Here in Canberra, 49% of the workforce are public servants, with a large percentage of these being baby boomers who contribute to the CSS super scheme, which “rewards” them to retire just shy of their 55th birthday.

    A report I read recently – though I have no link to it – predicts that within 10 years there will be a shortage of 30,000 workers in Canberra as a result of these long-term baby boomer public servants retiring from the workforce.

    Let us assume that that is 3,000 a year. Doesn’t that equate to the predicted cut?

    OK, that means that those still in the workforce will have more demands upon them due to declining numbers across the departments, but I see that as a far better alternative that being jobless.

  3. A reasonable question is whether it is appropriate for a union representing public servants to affiliate with a political party?

    It has to create a conflict of interest.

  4. Well done Tom… I was trying to work out how you would try and spin this.

    The fact is that although there is a relationship between unions and Labor, they do not hold back from letting that relationship interfere with their obligations to their members – and the public.

  5. Tom of Melbourne, on March 1st, 2009 at 5:19 pm Said:

    A reasonable question is whether it is appropriate for a union representing public servants to affiliate with a political party?

    It has to create a conflict of interest.”

    Cronyism is rife in NSW because of this fact Tom.

  6. Why are public sector jobs sacrosanct? Painful as it might be why not introduce some of those who ‘work’ in the public sector to a good dose of reality? Some railway stations served by CityRail don’t have any employees who might be prevailed upon to assist an old lady onto a train. You could suffer a heart attack on some railway stations and there are no employees to render assistance.

    When reregistering a car in NSW these days the whole process is done at the garage or authorized repairer. You don’t set foot inside an RTA office anymore.

    Seems like we have already crossed the Rubicon of “public servants must be protected to ensure life as we know it continues.”

  7. Ya spun it just fine Joni.

  8. Joni – I actually think it is a reasonable point.

    Should the union that is responsible for representing the collective interests of public servants, directly form part of one political party, and through this affiliation, form part of those directly in opposition to the other side of politics?

    It does seem to open itself to some questions about ethics, interests, motives, transparency etc.

    However, I’m sure the ambitious union officials can rationalise the lack of transparency.

  9. “Why are public sector jobs sacrosanct? Painful as it might be why not introduce some of those who ‘work’ in the public sector to a good dose of reality?”

    I take it you think that all public servants & others who work for governments are Union adoring, Marx dreaming, Leftoids?

    It will be interesting to see how many small business people & farmers suffering due to economic downturn have spouses & kids who work in the public service, I’m sure the loss of that income will hurt them too. This is why I despise vendettas. Tho, if a public servant is deliberately sabotaging their job or providing misleading info to Ministers and such, then there must be consequences.

    When I was teaching many of the administrators and some educators were Libs & Nats. Even had a Principal who had run as a Lib in an election. Cuts affect individuals & their families of all political persuasions. And even those who don’t give a sod about politics.

    Obviously if the tax revenue is decreasing then sacrifices will need to be made by all…including those who work for government. I’d hate to see lengthy waste of time & income strikes that cause little more than social division, unnecessarry conflict and often loss of valuable moneys for workers…whilst some tricky dick governments save a bucket on wages.

    Nor do I approve of bullying governments &/or businesses that use police forces to do their ditrty work for them. And agents provocateurs to incite crowd violence, captured by sh*t stirring corporate media that benefits from LIVE conflict.

    N’

  10. I notice Tom has studiously avoided the question I posed in the first comment :).

    Apparently Tom the CPSU’s affiliation is not buying them much influence, if they feel the need to fund an advertising campaign to influence public opinion. But I’m sure you’ll have an ingenious explanation that reconciles their behaviour with your single-minded conviction that Rudd’s a union stooge.

  11. I’VE GOT IT!!!

    Rudd asked the CPSU to fund the campaign in the hope there’ll be a swell of public support for public servants and Rudd can then claim he’s just adopting popular sentiment when he refrains from sacking anyone. Ooooohhhh the Machiavellian goings-on in Labor ranks!

    There Tom I’ve saved you the trouble of responding.

  12. Well Ken, have you ever noticed how some of the unions, in NSW particularly, react when an ALP government is proposing to restructure a public service or instrumentality?

    The exercise of their industrial rights is the fall back position.

    The first response is to intervene in the internal mechanics of the ALP. Threaten the preselection of a couple of backbenchers, even ministers. Organise and do deals with other unions…

    I suppose that’s fine, as long as you don’t want a government to govern in the public interest.

    Personally, I prefer the political stuff to be organised behind union thus, hacks and factional warlords.

    Transparency in politics is boring. Bugger the public, let’s look after ourselves, right Ken?

  13. “then sacrifices will need to be made”

    And that goes for CEOs and execs of companies too.

    I respect Lindsay Tanner’s views, he seems to be a fairly BALANCED politician. Kinda like Beattie…& now Bligh here in QLD.

    Protecting Australian jobs is important…but so is flexibility during HARD TIMES. Gawd forbid if we got into a private vs public tit for tat. The corporate media would gobble it up…FEED like ravenous beasts.

    The workers and particularly those families on the finacial edge would be the primary losers.

    And the corporate aristocracy & their puppets will benefit…as despairing, depressed workers fall into the heavy grog & big pharma drugs use…get apathetic and go for the cheap fast food & trash TV instant pleasure zone…make some lawyers a bundle as they race thru the divorce & family courts…and imagine the growth in “How to get by as a single parent” & “Life in the divorce lane” & “My life as a child of a breakup” books & midday TV shows?

    Then LAW & ORDER…& FAMILY VALUES becomes the catchcry of the corporate puppet poliiticians again.

    An aspect of the American system is a living corporate entity just waiting to pounce on such social malaise. Plenty of Aussie media moguls have learnt their craft there, adapted to their style, bought the shares and stocks that benefit from THE FALL…and a chaotic, depressed, unbalanced Australia could easily fall prey to their grotesque designs & profit-making goals if we are not careful. Look at the UK.

    Australia is UNIQUE.
    It should stay that way.

    The same goes for the journos & commentators. Some are RESPONSIBLE. They know who they are.

    N’

  14. Tom, as a former Commonwealth PS, I can assure you that if the union were to be affiliated with a political party it would be the Libtards and the same is true of other public service unions. So no need to get in a lather.

    And btw, Ken was being sarcastic in his first post.

  15. Hi Jane, it is hardly surprising to me that Ken was being sarcastic. He often is – it is soooo much easier than coherent and rational debate. That’s certainly why I prefer sarcasm during any discussion.

    http://www.nswalp.com/affiliated-unions

    Is that the Community & Public Sector Union that I see among those affiliated?

    I’m sure that despite this the good old CPSU fight for the rights of all the public servants without fear or favour.

    I hear that they have a new industrial campaign on the go!!!!

    Yes, they’re leaving 2 buttons of their cardigans undone!!!!!

  16. Tom if ‘The exercise of their industrial rights is the fall back position’ that demonstrates that the unions don’t really control the ALP after all. I mean if they DID control it, as you constantly insist they do, why would they need a fall back position at all?

    I know it’s Sunday night but I thought you would come up with something better than that.

  17. “Why are public sector jobs sacrosanct? Painful as it might be why not introduce some of those who ‘work’ in the public sector to a good dose of reality? ”

    First, Stephan, who said they were sacrosanct? The fact that 3000 Commonwealth public servants might lose their job certainly proves the point that they aren’t sacrosanct.

    And what dose of reality are you talking about? As a public servant I take offence to your statement.

    And in regards to the rail woes you complained about, I think you’ll find that the rails are a State issue.

    In my opinion, your post wasn’t given much thought.

  18. Definition – controlling interest – investorwords.com

    “The ownership of more than 50% of a company’s voting stock; or a significant fraction, even if less than 50%, if the rest of the shares are not actively voted.”

    50% of the vote is a controlling interest! I don’t suppose the unions intend to do anything with this though.

    Other than take all the winnable seats, of course.

  19. Miglo, on March 1st, 2009 at 8:18 pm
    And what dose of reality are you talking about? As a public servant I take offence to your statement.

    G’day Migs, I can easily understand how Stephan could draw conclusions about Public Servants

    1. There are a lot of PS who post here seven days a week almost 24 hours a day…; and

    2. One thing I’ve discovered over my lifetime is that PS have really developed the skill of taking offence at comments made by their clients…whether in Oz or overseas (particularly OS)…rather than helping them…

    …and you are quite entitled to take offence, so would I…but then I never aspired to the PS… 🙂

    …may I enquire as to your PS role? As a curious taxpayer… 😀

    As for Stephan’s comments (also quite entitled) re public transport, methinks that was pot shot at ALL PS – Federal, State, Local… 😆

  20. Yes, it wasn’t that hard was it TB. Public servants can be state, federal or even employed by local government. They are in the employ of the public and are paid out of the taxpayers’ purse.

  21. Stephan

    Its just that I’ve had a lot of “issues” with government employees (let alone PS) over the years and its not hard to find examples of pure bloody mindedness…

    …what has always amused me is that PS are usually extremely well educated but often have little life experience (or a just as cold as a cucumber) present Blogocrats excepted of course…

    Gotta go be back tomorrow I hope!

  22. “There are a lot of PS who post here seven days a week almost 24 hours a day…; and”

    I haven’t noticed. What people do on their lunches & spare time is their business don’t you think TB. I’m surprised you would express a comment that has such a John Howard, and spiteful commentors on ‘Insiders’, flavour to it.

    Like I said previously:

    “Gawd forbid if we got into a private vs public tit for tat. The corporate media would gobble it up…FEED like ravenous beasts.”

    Feed THE BEAST…reap the whirlwind.

    Just saying. I do AGREE w/ many of your other views.

    N’

  23. TB Queensland, on March 1st, 2009 at 9:24 pm Said

    “There are a lot of PS who post here seven days a week almost 24 hours a day”

    Like naskin said:

    “I haven’t noticed”

    Evidence? But if you are right and you maybe, I would suspect that the people in question would be at the base of the PS pyramid. A bit like the ‘check-out chick in private enterprise. Plenty of time for ‘texting’ or ‘twittering’. Lol. But not a serious player.

    As for:

    “One thing I’ve discovered over my lifetime is that”

    ‘Discovered’? Please! TB you had that ‘theory’ (the intellectual search engine) in the first place and now you have the particular and peculiar ‘facts’ (which you were always looking for) to support the original mindset. Of course if you had a different ‘theory’ such as PS work hard you might have ‘discovered’ different facts. Try Rudd and his work ethic as a particular example.

    “PS are usually extremely well educated”

    Really? Not my experience. Often they have a basic degree from from a distant university. Lol.

    Re:

    ” but often have little life experience”

    Yes I have ‘noticed’ they live in balloons that circulate the universe devoid of of real life experience and aren’t members of the general population. Lol.

    Unbelievable!

  24. Yeah but Tom the ALP is not a company and the unions aren’t stockholders, which makes your comment kind of pointless. You’re not on your best form tonight at all … must be the heat.

  25. Also TomM, you must remember that this ‘contolling interest’ held by unions is not held by one united player. As you have pointed out many times, the unions are as often at war with each other as they are with the employers. They are a very disjointed group of controlling interests, who, at their core, are controlled by their members.

    And so I will ask you again, which union is controlling Rudd?? Arguably the single most controlling figure in the history of the ALP. He would have more sway over public policy than any single member before. Mainly due to his winning the ‘unwinnable’.

  26. Typical conservation during ALP conference –

    Union hack – “give us more (insert some unsustainable claim), or we’ll F*&@EN (insert threat to preselection) you.
    ALP Minister – “but, but, but, but comrade, the public won’t vote for us if we do that!”
    Union hack – “You F*&@EN owe us one next term, or we’ll F*&@EN do ya”
    ALP Minister – “Thanks for your help and understanding comrade”
    Union hack – “F*&@ OFF”

    The charm of the cooperative relationships between the industrial and political wings of the ALP.

  27. Thanks for the lucid and carfefully considered reply TomM

    I would have never guessed your answer would be BOO!

    🙂

  28. TB, before I start work, I was a little ‘amused’ that I need a dose of reality, as Stephan suggested.

    I’d also be quite happy – as a trusted mate – to tell you what my PS role is. Please email me at michael.ct@bigpond.com and I’ll fill you in later on this evening.

    See you all at lunchtime.

  29. Tom R, with regard to Rudd.

    He does exercise considerable personal control over the party, there is no doubt of this. He personally is not beholden to unions or factions.

    It is obvious though, that Julia Gillard is not in this position. An example of the control the unions have over her is the first policy announced before the election in 2007. Gillard came up with an absolute dud of a policy, it was fortunate that Rudd was strong enough and capable of rescuing it from the mess she had created.

    Rudd’s has personal power, based on electoral success. It is greater than that usually assigned to an ALP leader, the question is whether it is sustainable.

    When his popularity falls, and it inevitably will, the decline is likely to be steeper. I think there will be a vacuum and struggle. The rich tradition of the ALP is then likely to re-emerge.

    With regard to unions and the controlling interest they have over the ALP. Perhaps the ALP is fortunate that they are not a more cohesive group. And as you point out, the lack of cohesion is one of the problems that I have referred to previously, most recently during an exchange with Min. Unions do compete for membership in a way that damages business, and our reputation as a reliable destination for investment.

    They are also cohesive enough to ensure that union officials obtain most of the winnable seats. The parliamentary party is a step on the career path for ambitious union officials, but inaccessible for well qualified activists in social welfare, environment, consumer groups. Unions do control votes and exchange factional support when voting on various policies and preselection.

    Senor union officials are at least as devoted to their political manoeuvrings as they are to pursuing the interests of their membership.

    Unions do act as a block in some ALP intervention; have a look at their reaction to the recommendation of Hawke & Wran for a marginal change to the representative structure. It was almost blind fury, an outrageous attack on Simon Crean. It was putting their own power and interests above those of the party.

    But these activities are secondary to their main interest – which is boasting about their power during drinking sessions.

    I really couldn’t resist the replay of the conversation. I abbreviated it though; the union hack also used the opportunity to promote himself as the most likely successor in any contested preselection.

  30. So, in summation, your simple answer is, at the present moment, unions DO NOT = BOO!

    Which kind of invalidates all your other arguments.

    IF the situation changes, with a lot of conditions applying to meet your criteria, then you have a point.

    Presently, you don’t.

  31. Tom R – “Which kind of invalidates all your other arguments”
    I think don’t think so. Rudd personally is not strongly affected by union and factional pressure, at present. However he cannot run the entire government. Other ministers, such as Julia Gillard, do have to react to affiliated unions and the pressure they create.

    State governments, even more so.

    I’ve only (slightly) moderated my view in respect to Rudd.

  32. Tom of Melbourne, on March 2nd, 2009 at 10:07 am Said:

    I’ve only (slightly) moderated my view in respect to Rudd.

    I rate that in the same leaque as moving the earth off its gravitational orbit of the sun.

  33. Miglo,
    Hope you don’t mind i had a little laugh at the generalization of ALL government positions.

    I remember that day i drove past your work and 1 guy was working and 3035 were in the carpark dirty dancing and everyone had shinny teeth.

    Really stuff like roadworks, waterways, health and safety anyone can apply and have a day or two course to fill the position, often you will see less then there best.
    Miglo im sure you would be angry with the education you have had to even get close to filling the position you hold only to be put in a category,

    I think we need a union in this room immediately
    To make sure everyone is represented fairly. 😉

  34. Thanks Aqua.

    I wasn’t angry, rather, I feel sorry for people who are ignorant.

  35. Miglo, I’m with you. It’s lonely at the top.

    People like us are so unappreciated. I know the hours I spend in quiet contemplation, are sometimes mistaken for sleep.

    Far from sleeping, cannot these people see my restlessness and furrowed brow?

    Putting up with ungrateful, ungracious imbeciles, that’s our lot in life. Such is the onerous responsibility of leadership.

    Chin up old chap!!

  36. Antd to think, Tom, that we work for these people.

  37. I made a spelling mistake. The taxpayers will be angry.

  38. And what do you do for a crust Tom?

  39. Yes Miglo, taxpayers are ALL pedants. Always objecting to something, if it wasn’t spelling, it would be service levels, or some vague notion of accountability.

    Taxpayers, imbeciles, subordinates, they’re all sooooo unreasonable.

    I’m sure I have no idea about “a crust”.

    But I do have a range of interests that maintain a level of remuneration that assists to cover the afternoon Dom Perignon and the Beluga with on those nice little French toasts.

    Hardly a “crust” is required.

  40. Tom..what you do for a crust is an Australian-ism. That is, how do you earn a quid. What you do with those quids isn’t our business.

  41. I thought TomM was shop steward for the young Liberals??

    The ‘crust’ he gets is those he serves.

  42. Min & Tom R, I’ve already explained. I engage in quiet contemplation.

    It’s a bit like being a public servant, but probably pays a little better. And there’s no pesky taxpayers bothering me with demands for service.

  43. ToM, you’re very smug about service levels and vague levels of accountability in private enterprise. Strikes me that a tad more accountability might have prevented the current global financial mess.

  44. Tom..good one. Quiet contemplation. But not too often and not too quiet I should imagine 🙂

  45. I made a spelling mistake. The taxpayers will be angry.

    I demand a pay cut and a demotion to sparypainting lines on the road followed by a public beheading.

  46. LOL Aqua, I’ll order an investigation into the cheapest way possible and then I’ll call for tenders to wield the axe.

    Jane – good post. I love it when people get stuck into Tom M.

  47. Well Jane, Miglo has prompted me to respond.

    I’d only say that you can’t get more accountable than being removed from your job for poor performance, and many business leaders have suffered the ignominy of this.

    Their only compensation has been a few million dollars. And what’s the use of money if your self esteem has been so badly damaged?

  48. Plus Tom, what if you choose to remove youself such as Sol so as to avoid having to pay Australian income tax? From the Oz: AS a temporary Australian resident, outgoing Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo’s vast fortune was not subject to scrutiny by the Australian Taxation Office.

  49. Min, you’ve always seemed to have such compassion, let’s empathise with Sol. He’s walked away from his job, with what? Money? Well of course he needs money, but let’s not dwell on that or his tax affairs.

    Think about the self esteem of the poor chap.

  50. True Min, there are numerous checks and balances that make my job accountable, yet in private enterprise we often hear of rorts and fraudulent activities.

    My level of waste is resticted to bending paper clips.

  51. Miglo – “My level of waste is resticted to bending paper clips.”

    I want my money back.

  52. Migs..reminds me of when son went into the Navy (wave, wave to Adrian), they couldn’t process applications because they had run out of biros. True story.

    Tom, compassion (now don’t try to be tricky Tom) be b’ggered when it relates to poor old Sols.

  53. Do you pay taxes Tom?

  54. Taxes? You’ve got me there Miglo.

    Don’t tell me… I’m supposed to, right?

    I think I tried it once, I really didn’t enjoy it at all.

    I think taxes are for people that earn an income, and I really struggle with the idea that I actually earn mine.

  55. Min whispers an aside a la The Goons..me thinks that Tom is deliberately trying to be obtuse. Now don’t quote me, it’s just an impression.

  56. The charm of the cooperative relationships between the industrial and political wings of the ALP.

    I prefer the charm of the extreme right religious nutters vs the moderates in the Liberal party, it’s a lot more entertaining, and destructive.

    The rich tradition of the ALP is then likely to re-emerge.

    Unlike the rich tradition of the Libs which we are currently seeing? Devouring themselves from within. Gee, who do the voters pick?

    Oh, poor tom, did a union rep swear at you once? Sounds so vulgar when when the swearer is not wearing a business suit!

    Seems to be a few ex-business union reps employed in advisory roles to the current Liberal Opposition, Hendy etc. I’m sure Hendy can swear with the best of ’em, especially when a union official happens to cross his path.

  57. Hi Kittylitter

    As if one of those union types would speak to me like that. A man has bearing, presence, some of us command respect.

    No, I’ve not experienced this, but I’ve heard that others have been confronted by this uncouth language.

    We know what the Liberals are, hardly a benchmark for ethical politics.

  58. “My level of waste is resticted to bending paper clips.”

    What no junkets that keep casino owners & top-end-of-town restaurants and hotels happy?

    Miglo, you be slackin’ off on the “snort yer ass off whilst banqueting at taxpayer’s expense” routine brought to us so kindly by Amerikorp international & friends.

    I can remember being paranoid about making too many photocopies for the children in the 90s…in the days when only “Leading Schools” got a decent amount of computers…& appropriate moneys for textbooks

    I think we even painted classrooms off our backs in those days. Memories…

    There’s TIGHT…& then there’s NAT/LIB TIGHT. When it comes to public education at least.

    N’

  59. Nasking, under the Rudd Government we public servants are again inspired to work. It is only normal that a person works better to a good boss.

  60. No, a person works best when threatened with dire consequences for indolence, or illness.

    Everyone knows that threats, pressure, hard edged direction, gets really good results.

    And this behaviour is more far more satisfying for bosses too. Cajoling, rewarding, consulting is terribly time consuming. GET ON WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!! That’s better.

    I thought you’d have known that by now Miglo.

  61. N’..I won’t go on unless encouraged 😉 Yep, HREOC case and anti discrimination NSW just to allow 1 child (not one of my crew) to be given colored paper (parents volunteered to supply this), size 14 font and to be allowed to wear a hat in class.

    Parents and teachers pulled together re working bees etc, but try to obtain assistance via ‘the powers’, well that of course is another story.

  62. Whoops, not Miglo. This is the Education Department NSW.

  63. Tom, that’s exactly how voters were treated under the previous government.

    It proved, in the long run, to be a complete failure.

  64. LOL! Just returned

    Migs – thanks for that – email winging its way!

    N5 your posts are becoming more and more paternalistic and patronising – again loosen up…and as sreb would say…enjoy…”clink”

  65. Tom of Melbourne, on March 2nd, 2009 at 4:08 pm Said:

    “I’d only say that you can’t get more accountable than being removed from your job for poor performance, and many business leaders have suffered the ignominy of this.”

    Yeah, well after the bankruptcy horse bolted.

    “Their only compensation has been a few million dollars. And what’s the use of money if your self esteem has been so badly damaged?”

    Several million dollars can buy enough self-esteem to last until you pop your clogs. Why couldn’t the buggers have the decency to jump from the nearest tall building?

    “As if one of those union types would speak to me like that. A man has bearing, presence, some of us command respect.”

    Well, I’m sure those rough union types know to pull their forelocks, lower their eyes, bow deeply from the waist and never speak unless spoken to, when they encounter you.

    “No, a person works best when threatened with dire consequences for indolence, or illness.

    Everyone knows that threats, pressure, hard edged direction, gets really good results.

    And this behaviour is more far more satisfying for bosses too. Cajoling, rewarding, consulting is terribly time consuming. GET ON WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!! That’s better.”

    As an employer, I always found a cattle prod and a taser worked wonders with very little verbal input.

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