ACTU raised $4m for election campaign on PS job cuts

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ACTU raised $4m for election campaign on PS job cuts

The ACTU has started levying unions $2 for each member to raise $4 million for its campaign against the Federal Coalition in this year’s election. It will focus on the public sector jobs cuts by conservative state governments.

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The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has started levying union members $2 for each member to raise $4 million for its campaign against the Federal Coalition in this year’s election. It will focus on the public sector jobs cuts by conservative state governments.

It has also appointed Daniel Mookhey, former chief of staff to Transport Workers Union (TWU) leader Tony Sheldon, to coordinate the election campaign.

The union movement will point to big job cuts in the public sector by the NSW and Queensland governments as a model to be followed by an Abbott Government.

20,000 too many

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has said the federal public service will be cut by 12,000 over two years and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has suggested there are 20,000 public servants too many.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said the election campaign would emphasise both ‘insecure work’ and the job cuts by conservative premiers in New South Wales and Queensland.

The ACTU has been campaigning for a year on the growth of casual employment and the difficulties this imposes on workers, such as the inability to get housing loans.

Oliver said unions would demand the Coalition reveals the number of public servants to be sacked to help fund its $70 billion ‘black hole’.

‘Shoulders to the wheel’

He said the unions would ‘really put their shoulders to the wheel’ in the election campaign because they ‘know the threat if Tony Abbott is elected prime minister’.

Oliver accused the Coalition of hiding its IR policies, and said the campaign by employers over changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 showed there was an ‘underlying agenda’ on workplace relations.

Employers have made it clear they want changes to penalty rates, unfair dismissals, flexibility in enterprise agreements and union right of entry.

Union finances

Oliver also said the union movement would oppose an expected inquiry into union finances by a Coalition Government following the HSU scandal.

‘I think their strategy is going to be about attacking unions,’ Oliver said.

‘What people need to understand is that when you’re attacking unions, you’re attacking workers.’
 
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