3 July 2019

Radio National’s Who Runs This Place is a very interesting and wide-ranging series looking at various aspects of power in Australian society. The latest episode focusses on people power, and discusses the decline of union influence. Tim Lyons of Reveille Strategy (subscribe to their newsletter) makes a good argument about the state of the unions: “I think unions actually have very little power. Certainly less power than you would think from the public discourse. And I think two things really stand out to prove that fact… you wouldn’t see record low wage growth and an epidemic of wage theft if unions were powerful. … The critical thing really is for unions to … develop membership propositions that work in those smaller enterprises, then I think we’ll see membership growing.” Lyons goes on to promote worker cooperatives as a strategy for collectivising the so-called gig economy. Plenty of other interviews, too, with people like Tim Dunlop, Sally McManus, Marcia Langton and Megan Davis — well worth listening to.