Saturday, April 07, 2007

Liberal anti-unionism

It seems to me a gap in industrial relations research that the emotional foundations of Coalition hostility to trade unionism are not examined. To a section of the Coalition and its support base trade unionism is self-evidentially a bad thing; the way to a much smaller section of radical opinion capitalism is self-evidentially bad. Business groups have seized the opportunity to advance managerial prerogative with delight, but this political crusade isn't economically driven. Is it a product of the close partisan alignment between unions and the ALP? However it didn't occur under previous Coalition governments when this was the case. Arguments about productivity don’t address this fundamental motive. I think the core theme is that managers and employers always know best and they have demonstrated themselves to be better people than those beneath them. There are signs of this in earlier Liberal argument; Menzies’ dismissal of the organised masses in his forgotten people speech, but in Menzies view the virtuous middle-class are separate from the organised masses, today’s Liberalism sees them as in a closer relationship of necessary dominance and subordination. Howard's 'enterprise worker' musings are related to this.



At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Slim said...

Trade unions have fought for the cause of a living wage and fair conditions for working people. From a free-market capitalist perspective, they are an impediment to efficiency through wage reduction.

Of course, Australia's Liberals are not liberals, they are conservatives, and some of them radical to boot. WorkChoices was a wild, unanticipated wet-dream come true. Keep downward pressure on wages to maximise profit.

Stuff the workers, I need a new beachhouse.

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