Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Australian Workers Union Supports Carbon Tax

After the carbon tax was imposed on companies that belong to the Top 500 most polluting by having them pay $23 per tonne beginning July of next year, the Australian Workers’ Union has finally given its thumbs up. It has vowed to name and shame any company that uses the carbon tax as an excuse to sack workers.

The Union previously warned the government that it will withdraw its support the moment a single job is lost. However, it was stated by Paul Howes, national secretary of the union, that it is quite satisfied at present of the government’s package.

Treasurer Wayne Swan’s announcement that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will crackdown on any business that is caught increasing its prices while blaming the tax has prompted the Union to express its support.

Carbon Tax now backed up by Australian Workers' Union

Confidence was expressed by Mr. Howes saying that the tax will not lead to the sacking of any of the AWU’s members. There are around 135,000 workers in the different sectors including manufacturing, steel, aluminum construction, and oil and gas industries.

“We said quite rightly, and quite proudly, that our union would not support a price on carbon that costs the jobs of our members,” said Mr. Howes.

“We hold that position today. But we believe that the government has delivered a package which addressed the concerns we have,” he added.

If they do try and lay off AWU members under this tax ... we will name and shame them,” is his threat to those companies that will justify job losses.

The Union’s stance has stunned Stephen Cartwright, Chief Executive of the NSW Business Chamber.

“We are on the verge of GFC Mark II and we can't take risks with our manufacturing jobs. The concern of business is that the tax won't work - it will result in our jobs and emissions being exported overseas.

It seems a strange world where business groups are arguing for the livelihoods of manufacturing workers, and manufacturing unions are arguing the case for the accounting firms, legal firms and banking houses who want a new revenue stream,” he said.

However, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Labor government have gained record lows in the Fairfax Nielsen poll yesterday. Mr. Howes, on the other hand, believes that Gillard will lead Labor to the next federal election.

To help the steel industry move to clean energy, around $300 million will be set aside. Furthermore, for a Coal Sector Jobs Package, $1.3 billion will be saved.

As part of the carbon tax, July 10, 2011 was declared “Carbon Sunday” which meant that after July 1, a new set of rules have taken effect that will impact the business landscape.

Source: The Telegraph »

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