I recently read a book set in a fictional medieval village scorched by drought, leaving the villagers to starve and perish while unbeknownst to them, their Lord is drinking from a secret reservoir only he has access to. Instead of sharing the water with the people, he chooses to hoard it all for himself for no real justifiable reason – there’s plenty to go around.
Stories like these often tell tales of bitter inequality and hardship. In these fables, class is something that is presented in extremes.
But how would we feel if this was happening to us, in real life, in 2022? The sad truth is that it is.
In the absence of lords or monarchs living in castles guarded by people wearing funny hats, the mythology has grown that the notion that ‘class’ doesn’t exist in Australia. We are expected to subscribe to the notion of the ‘fair go’ which is rooted far more in cultural mythos than in fact.
But Australia is undeniably home to a class of an elite: a small number of multi-millionaires and billionaires who hoard profits earned off the backs of workers and keep it for themselves. Workers have generated great levels of productivity that allow the Australian economy to flourish and yet it is the multi-millionaire CEOs who refuse to fairly share the profits.
The reality seems fantastical: a tale of extreme wealth hoarded away from those that generated the bulk of it.
The real class divide in Australia is found in profiteering and CEO salaries, while the rest of us struggle to keep up with the soaring cost of living. What’s worse is that this corporate profiteering is to blame for this inflation crisis in the first place.
So, where are all these profits going? We know that they are not making goods and services any more affordable and we know that they’re not going towards our wages. They’re thickening the pay packets of CEOs, executives and billionaire trust funds.
Let’s take Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s appalling treatment of employees as an example. While the airline deemed it necessary to illegally sack and outsource 2,000 workers, Joyce is still able to sit on millions in annual pay.
Ground staff who had had decades of loyal service to Qantas were discarded overnight, so Joyce and Qantas senior executives could continue to make themselves millions.
We can change that unfair balance.
Australian unions are made up of workers creating better, safer workplaces for the future. We’ve always worked towards purposeful change – sick pay, annual leave, penalty rates, even weekends. Fundamental rights that benefit all workers.
We are able to achieve progress for workers because being part of a union gives you collective bargaining power. By joining your union, you can turn the tide against corporate profiteering and protect your right to a fair wage.
Workers are paying the price for corporate greed