Economy

Nov 17, 2017

Rogue, out-of-control union mysteriously fails to get wage rises

The mining industry says industrial relations reform is urgently needed to rein in mining unions. Wages growth data begs to differ.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Before the Minerals Council of Australia began imploding in a war between coal fantasists and people who occasionally visit a rapidly warming planet Earth, it launched a blink-and-you'll-miss it campaign to urgently overhaul industrial relations laws which were a terrible impediment to mining. The campaign was fronted by mining lobbyist Marn Ferguson and involved demands for individual contracts, further curbs on union power and further curtailment of bargaining issues.

The chief mining industry union, of course, is the CFMEU, the fabled ogre of conservative narratives. And based on the MCA campaign, you'd think the CFMEU was a rogue union that was inflicting massive costs on the industry via its relentless disputation and aggressive tactics. So yesterday's Wage Price Index figures should presumably show the mining sector enduring the highest wage rises across the economy. Or surely, at least, above average wage rises? Let's look at what the ABS says, neatly encapsulated in a diagram. 

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