$8 wage claim floundering
By Max Lane
SYDNEY — A week after its announcement, the push
for an $8 wage claim by a group of unions from the right wing of the NSW Trades and Labour Council is already faltering.
The group had threatened to bypass the ACTU, which has been stalling on the so-called safety net $8 rise. Now, however, one of the supporters of the group, assistant secretary of the Labor Council Peter Sams, says there might be "technical problems" in "mounting a state wage case".
The June 2 Financial Review quoted Sams as saying that under the NSW Industrial Relations Act unions could not lodge such a claim until there had been a decision on a national wage case. Sams said that a wage claim can't be turned into a wage case unless the vast bulk of state based unions lodge a claim.
Such a united push seems very unlikely in the light of a June 2 meeting of "left-wing" unions which condemning the right wing for pressing ahead with the $8 claim. The NSW assistant secretary of the Australian, Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, Ian West, said the others should abide by the ACTU decision and not proceed with the claim.
The Textile Clothing and Footwear Union, which originally supported the NSW right-wing unions, withdrew its support after Anna Booth, a junior vice-president of the ACTU, attacked the so-called rebel unions for putting at risk the ACTU wage strategy — i.e. of postponing the wage rise until unemployment declines.