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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 965


Senator YOUNG - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labor and Immigration. I do so following previous questions I have asked and inquiries I have made on this matter. Is it not a fact that senior officials of trade unions on strike, unlike the rank and file members, still receive payment which on some occasions amounts to more than they normally receive when their union is not on strike?


Senator BISHOP -Senator Young has asked this question a number of times. We are not in a position to find out whether currently union officials are paid their usual salaries during stoppages. I think I have told the honourable senator of my own personal knowledge of circumstances which preceded the most recent disputes, namely, that many officials of unions involved in disputes had their wages cancelled for the time their members were on strike and that when I was a union official in one case I lost, I think, 2 months' wages because of such a policy.


Senator Young - That was a long time ago.


Senator BISHOP -I think the honourable senator, knowing what is happening today, will agree that it shows that all the stoppages are not initiated by trade union secretaries, as people are saying. He can refer to the stoppages in the motor car industry in South Australia if he likes. Many of them are in fact, as he knows, wildcat stoppages organised by job committees almost following the pattern of the United Kingdom many years ago. So I do not accept the proposition that most of the activity is promoted by the union secretaries. I think that putting forward that proposition is the purpose of the question. The only relevance of the question is to whether those people are organising disputes. The fact is that we know disputation is developing and anybody who is sensible relates it to the general expansionary economy in Australia. The Government is trying to find solutions which will moderate that situation. The Minister for Labor and Immigration put before the Moore Conference last week a proposition which, if it is accepted by the employers and the unions, either in the form in which it was proposed or in a modified form, will go a long way towards reducing industrial disputes in this country.







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