Union Hand On The Wheel Doomed Ford

Ken Phillips, a member of the HR Nicholls Society Board of Management, was published yesterday in the Business Spectator on how the Union Movement doomed Ford in Australia:

There’s more to the Ford closure story than at first appears.

In fact, there’s a monster truck crashing over the bonnets of the car manufacturing industry in Australia.  Unfortunately, no one seems capable of stopping its destructive progress. Sitting in the driver’s seat are Australia’s manufacturing unions shouting loud about ‘workers’ rights’.  These unions share a big part of the blame for the industry’s progressive decline and job losses.

Certainly the high Australian dollar, intense international competition and failure to make cars that people want to buy are dominant reasons for the industry’s problems. None of these can be addressed if managers of car plants can’t effectively manage.  That’s what’s happened in Australia.

Since 2003 the Institute of Public Affairs has studied industrial relations agreements and how they impact on the capacity of managers to manage.  Ford, for example, has gone backward – in a big way. Read more

New Report: Desperate Unions Cling To Power

Unions force themselves on uninterested workforce

As trade union membership continues a 20-year decline, unions are taking extreme measures to retain their influence over an unwilling workforce.

Only one in five full-time workers are still taking out union membership. The majority of these are employed in the public sector. An overwhelming proportion of Australians engaged in the private sector are choosing not to join a trade union, with 87% un-unionised.

Wages have risen steadily over the same period, suggesting that there is no correlation between trade union membership and real wage increases.

Young people are refusing to join trade unions. The steepest decline in union membership is among those under the age of 60. As the membership base ages, 65% of union members had maintained their membership for five years or more; only 10% of trade union members had been a member for a year or more. Read more

Special Promotion

The HR Nicholls Society is excited to announce a very special promotion for new members:

The first 30 persons who apply to join the society before 5:00pm Friday June 28 will have their joining fee waived, and receive a 50% discount on the Annual Conference & Dinner – a saving of $120!  

For over 30 years the HR Nicholls Society has been at the forefront of the fight to reform Australia’s outdated industrial relations system.

As a member of the HR Nicholls Society, you will be entitled to exclusive event invitations, regular newsletters from the Society, and most importantly, you will be playing a key role in ensuring a return to a free and fair labour market in Australia.

The 2013 Annual Conference – the highlight of the Society’s year – shall be held in Melbourne on July 8th on the topic: “Unions in Control?”

Guest speakers include:

Mr Scott Barklamb, Executive Director – Industry, Australian Mines and Metals Association
Dr Chris Roberts, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer,
Cochlear Ltd
Mr Paul Fletcher MP, Federal Member for Bradfield

And many more: click HERE for details.

HR Nicholls Membership usually attracts a $30 joining fee and $70 annual fee, and the cost of the Annual Conference and Dinner is $180. Under this promotion, the total cost is $160 – a saving of $120!

Upon approval, all new members will be entitled to the full rights and privileges of membership, and receive either an HR Nicholls Tie or Scarf of their choosing.

With the 2013 election approaching, it is CRITICAL that Industrial Relations reform is back on the agenda – and joining the HR Nicholls Society and attending the conference is the strongest possible message you can send to Canberra that we need urgent reform.

Fill out the form below to apply:

Your Name (required)

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Address Line 1:

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Contact Number:


My Interest in Labor Market Reform is as follows:

Choice of Tie or Scarf with Membership:

I shall be accompanied to the Conference by:

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Upon approval, I shall make the total payment of $160 by (includes Conference, Dinner, Joining Fee, and One Year of Membership:

All applications for membership are subject to approval by the HR Nicholls Board of Management and as such, registration for the conference under this offer is no confirmed prior to formal approval

This offer is only available for Adult Members

This offer only applies to persons who have not previously been a member of the Society

Labor’s Poor Record on Jobs

Below is an extract from an article published on Wednesdays’ AFR opinion page, with the addition of the last half of the article in italics. This analysis has been put together as part of a series of Fact Sheets being published by the HR Nicholls Society in the lead up to the election scheduled for 14 September.

Wednesday’s article addresses the oft repeated claim by the Gillard government  (most notably by Treasurer Swan) that 900,000 jobs have been “created” under Labor. Even leaving aside the question of whether governments create jobs, the analysis below shows that the growth in employment under Labor has been relatively poor when compared with the recent past – certainly nothing to write home about.

Of particular interest is that more Australians are now out of work than during the height of the global financial crisis.

The poor performance of the labour market under Labor undoubtedly reflects in part the increased regulation under the so-called Fair Work legislation and the administration thereof. This regulation, which considerably increases the power of the union movement, will be examined at the conference on “Unions in Control?” being held by the HR Nicholls Society on 8 July at Morgan’s 401 Collins St.  Read more

Replace commission and boost productivity

The following is an expanded Letter to The Editor by Des Moore, member of the HRN Board of Management, in the Australian Financial Review:

Two things stand out from the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase the so-called minimum wage by 2.6 per cent (“World’s highest low-paid workers”, June 4).

First, the decision to cover 1.5 million employees means there is an unnecessary increase to the many earning well above the lowest award rate who do not need social protection. Indeed, the Commission acknowledges that “a significant proportion live in middle to low income households” and that the tax-transfer system can provide (it does) more targeted assistance. It is obvious that the coverage is grossly excessive.

Second, the Commission also acknowledges that its decision “may reduce the capacity to employ the marginalised”. In reality there is no “may” about it: [it means that employers are unable to employ low-skilled workers at an annual rate of less than about $32,000. The union leader who winged on television about the supposed financial difficulties of those on the minimum (apparently she also owns a house and a car) should spare a thought for the many who cannot be employed at a lower wage. ]

More generally, the decision illustrates the need to replace the Commission with a regulatory body which gives priority to increasing national productivity.

Extended Freeze Would Protect the Poor

Judith Sloan has a piece in today’s Australian (paywall protected) echoing many of the points made by the Society in our submission to the FWA minimum wage review.

An extract:

Clearly, they had not read the research undertaken by Professor Andrew Leigh, now Andrew Leigh MP, which concludes minimum wage rises lead to greater earnings and income inequality, on plausible estimates of elasticities. Oops.

Read more

Minimum wage increase to reduce employment growth

The HR Nicholls Society notes with some disappointment todays Fair Work Commission decision to grant a 2.6% pay increase with effect from 1 July 2013.  This will be in addition to the 0.25% superannuation increase that will also apply from this date.

The HR Nicholls Society draws attention to a study by ALP MP, Andrew Leigh some time before becoming an MP when he was an economist at the Australian National University.  The Study found “minimum wage elasticity of labour demand” of 0.29, with a sensitivity analysis range from 0.25 to 0.4″  On the basis of an article by economist John Humphreys writing in “The Drum”, this means for each 1 per cent increase in the minimum wage we can expect a 0.29 per cent decrease in labour demand.

Given that we have over 11 million people working, that means the proposed 2.6 per cent minimum wage increase will reduce labour demand by 0.754 per cent, which is just on 83,000 jobs in addition to the almost 8000 jobs that will be lost as a result of the impending superannuation increase, totalling around 91000 people who will be out of work as a result of the 1 July pay and superannuation increases.

Click here to read the submission on raising the minimum wage the HR Nicholls Society made earlier this year to the Fair Work Commission