Don’t Forget Super
By Brian Boyd
Published by the Victorian Electrical Trades Union, 2018
Ever wondered where your superannuation scheme came from and what it is meant to do?
I always thought it was a lump sum payment so I could buy a caravan and go around Australia before going on the age pension, and many have tried to do just that. But today anyone will tell you the age pension is not enough to live on, and working until your 67 is just not possible for most people, especially if you work in the construction industry.
Don’t Forget Super is a timely book and has a clear agenda. It puts out there, in the debates leading up to the next federal election and the upcoming Labor national conference, that a substantial revamp of industry superannuation is needed.
The book acknowledges that industry superannuation funds are superior to the retail funds run by the banks and other corporate financial institutions, but says there is no justification for complacency.
Industry super needs to be fairer, equitable and more accessible to all workers.
Since its inception industrially between 1983-92 and becoming a legal requirement from 1993 onwards, industry super has been undermined by political interference and employer wage theft.
The vast practice of illegal non-compliance and outright rorting by countless employers of workers accounts alone, justifies a concerted effort to improve this hard-won entitlement.
In a foreword to the book, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus wrote: “It’s time to change the rules. Wage and super theft is rampant…
“Super for the many was only won because workers came together and fought for it. We need that same determination to rebuild super and make real for the next generation the promise of a decent retirement.”
Don’t Forget Super puts forward a comprehensive list of suggestions to end non-compliance, set up a simple, enforceable process to recover lost super and enhance the funds ability to generate accounts that can actually deliver a decent, comfortable retirement.
I recommend every union shop steward and delegate read this booklet and keep it in the workplace kit. It not only explains the history of Australian superannuation, but what needs to be done to fix it.
“The union movement needs to ‘re-own’ superannuation,” Boyd says. As rank-and-file members we have a responsibility to demand that our union leaders take up the super issue and campaign to improve it. The bosses or government certainly won’t. Unions created super for workers and we must sort it out.
[Copies of the booklet can be picked up at the Victorian Electrical Trades Union office in North Melbourne or by writing to Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.]