Since its formation in 1927, the ACTU has been the peak trade union body in Australia. There is no other national confederation representing unions. For more than 90 years, the ACTU has played the leading role in advocating in the Fair Work Commission, and its statutory predecessors, for the improvement of employment conditions of employees. It has consulted with governments in the development of almost every legislative measure concerning employment conditions and trade union regulation over that period.
The ACTU consists of affiliated unions and State and regional trades and labour councils. There are currently 39 ACTU affiliates. They have approximately 2 million members who are engaged across a broad spectrum of industries and occupations in the public and private sector.
The ACTU and the union movement won compulsory employer-paid superannuation through national, worker-led campaigns. A right once reserved for the wealthy and executives, and won by public sector workers, superannuation is now a near-universal workplace right. The ACTU and affiliated unions were instrumental in the establishment and development of the industry super fund sector and are the sole advocates for and representatives of superannuation fund members. Unions improve workers’ superannuation entitlements and represent members in their funds.
This Bill is an attack on workers’ rights to collectively bargain for a superannuation fund in their interests. It is another in a series of attacks on workers’ rights from the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government intent on undermining workers’ wages and conditions. The Bill abolishes the ability for workers and their employers to agree to specific benefits only available with single fund workplaces. The bill undermines action against unpaid super undertaken by workers, unions and their funds. Finally, this Bill is a gift to the scandal-plagued and underperforming for-profit superannuation sector.
This Bill is representative of the priorities of the Morrison Government. The Government is doing nothing to combat the enormous problem of superannuation theft. There is a significant delay implementing the recommendations of the Banking Royal Commission. But the Government is focusing on stripping the rights of workers to bargain for a fund which represents them.
This Bill removes the right for workers to collectively bargain for what they want to see in a workplace and must be opposed.