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Ai Group comment on Bill targeting inappropriate revenue flows to Unions and officials

"Given the findings of the Heydon Royal Commission, it is beyond contention that new laws are needed to address certain inappropriate revenue flows to unions and union officials," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"It is important that any 'corrupting benefit' laws are carefully drafted to avoid capturing various day to day 'benefits' that an employer may provide to a union delegate or official. For example, an employer may provide leave for an employee who is a shop floor union delegate to attend an agreed training course provided by a trade union, or an employer may provide sandwiches at a full-day enterprise bargaining meeting held on the employer's premises. It is important that these incidental payments and benefits that arise from day to day interactions between employers and union officials are not captured by the new laws.

"It is vital that any new laws address the millions of dollars per year of inappropriate revenue which flow to unions from the following sources:

  • The distribution of surpluses to unions by many worker entitlement funds (e.g. many construction industry redundancy funds). These amounts are inappropriately distributed to unions from funds contributed by employers for the benefit of their employees;
  • The payment of very large, inappropriate commissions to unions from insurance companies which offer substandard income protection insurance at grossly inflated prices. Unions misuse the enterprise bargaining laws to coerce employers to purchase these products even though employers are typically able to purchase insurance that provides more favourable benefits to their employees at much lower cost (e.g. through an industry superannuation fund or through the insurance company which the company uses for other types of insurance). In such cases, unions are benefiting at the expense of both employers and employees."

  Media Enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347