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Senate needs to act today to stop union "wage theft"

"Right-minded people are understandably outraged at the ongoing raids on workers' entitlement funds by unions. Employers contribute to construction and electrical contracting industry redundancy funds for the benefit of their employees, not for the benefit of unions. It is a disgrace that millions of dollars are being withdrawn from these funds by unions. The ACTU complains about so-called 'wage theft', how is this not also 'wage theft' by the unions?," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"Both the Heydon and Cole Royal Commissions have condemned the unacceptable practice of so called 'surplus' funds being transferred to unions from worker entitlement funds. The idea that investment earnings are 'surplus' is nonsense. As the Royal Commissions have stated, why should workers not receive the benefits of the investment earnings on their own entitlements? Who would accept the idea of a superannuation fund that didn’t provide any investment earnings to members? The same principle needs to apply to worker entitlement funds.

"Also, how is the transfer of investment earnings to unions of benefit to all fund members when some of those members, no doubt, are not union members? Union membership in the private sector is currently only around 9% of the workforce.

"The is a glaring conflict of interest in allowing the Board Members of worker entitlement funds to decide to transfer millions of dollars to the organisations that appointed them to the Board.

"Construction and electrical contracting industry redundancy funds hold over $2 billion in workers’ entitlements. This money needs to be protected for the benefit of the fund members (i.e. the workers), not siphoned off into the bank accounts of unions.

"The Senate needs to act today to pass the Fair Work Amendment (Proper use of Worker Benefits) Bill 2017," said Mr Willox.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347