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Electricians call for employer groups not to join ACTU boss race to the bottom


Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today questioned the capacity of ACTU boss Sally McManus to do her job, after showing a blatant disregard for democracy during last night’s ABC 7.30 program, in which she supported breaking laws she deemed unjust. MEA Manager Advisory Services Jason O’Dwyer called the comments totally irresponsible, and described them as undermining the entire industrial relations system.

“It is extraordinary that the nation’s most powerful union leader could state openly that she believes herself, and her union members, to be above the law, and that she would support workers making their own decisions about which rules they choose to follow,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

“Imagine the union backlash and furore if employers followed her lead in this race to the bottom, and decided, for example, that because penalty rates were too high for the last seven years, they’d simply claw back the money they’d paid employees, garnishing their wages until they’d recouped the difference?

“It’s utterly absurd for a person of her power and influence to encourage this kind of behaviour.

“All parties affected by penalty rates followed the rules throughout a very lengthy process of review – everyone put their cases forward to the independent Fair Work Commission, respected the Commissioners’ very lengthy investigations and examination of all factors, their respect for a fair and just process of deliberation, and now their decisions.

“But, just like we’ve witnessed last night with Ms McManus, we’re now seeing a union-influenced opposition step in and say it doesn’t like the new rules because they don’t suit its position, it doesn’t respect the independence of the FWC, the body it established in the first place, and it’s going to undermine the entire industrial relations system by trying to force a reversal.

“Obeying the law is not conditional, and not liking something doesn’t mean you can break the law and get your own way.

“I’m calling on all employers and employer groups to rise above this rhetoric, and continue to operate in the professional and respectful manner they always have, and challenge Ms McManus to demonstrate real leadership within the ACTU and affiliated unions, and engage proactively with all parties,” he said.

Jason O’Dwyer is available for comment. Please phone Lisa Carter at the SAS Group on 07 3221 9222. 

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