Strikes up. Who is surprised? What about productivity?

Put pollution in a river and some way downstream you see the dead fish.

Here, the downstream results of the Fair Work Act. Strikes reach eight-year high.

Can someone provide a link on productivity data? Like this. Productivity down on the wharves. More.

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35 Responses to Strikes up. Who is surprised? What about productivity?

  1. Gab

    It’s clear the unions have been very productive, just look at those increases since 2007. Of course, the Liberal state governments made them do it.

  2. duncan

    You’ve got to admire the chutzpah

    ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said industrial disputes were “a fact of life and there will be peaks and troughs depending on a number of factors, including the number of enterprise agreements that come up for negotiation at one time, or an increase in the militant attitude of employers“.

  3. Rabz

    What about productivity?

    The ABS claims that labour productivity has grown at a slow but steady rate, while capital productivity has decreased. Using EOFY 2011 (June) as the base point.

    Alexander Philipatos has argued this previously in a paper I can no longer access.[email protected]/DetailsPage/5204.02011-12?OpenDocument

    Table 13.

  4. I think “productivity” is a complete red herring. It is the desperate scramble for some kind of objective macro-economic KPI in the hope that they can do battle with other idiots who think such things mean something. It is a political slogan and we are dupes to be drawn into to using it.
    The opposite, or trade-off for union power/economic disruption is not “productivity”. It is a state of a affairs where productivity and a host of other measures, are entirely a matter for the people who take the risks involved in business!
    Greater or lesser productivity be damned. It’s no one’s business but the owner of the business. What we need is a state of affairs where business owners are free to compile, consider and value that host of factors in whatever order and however much they damn well please. Get it right? Prosper. Get it wrong? Disappear. Over and over. That is the only way to get to a healthy and developing society.
    To play this game of “my KPI versus yours” (as if a fucking government would know two hoots about “productivity”) is just the same old shit on the other shoe: centralised planning, control, command, filthy vampyric Communism.

  5. papachango

    quelle grande surprise!

  6. Rabz


    I agree with your sentiments. Productivity is at best, an abstract concept.

    For businesses, all that matters is the bottom line.

  7. Lysander Spooner

    Totally different issue (but nowhere to post) the ABC print a story on sexual abuse in SA Ed Dept system; but it takes them 8 paragraphs to get to the point and actually mention what it is! The previous para’s refer to “substandard performance” etc….WTF!?

    Sorry to bomb this thread. Carry on folks.

  8. Lysander Spooner

    …while this story is not BREAKING! And may not even be “newsworthy” for Catfolk, I wonder if it would be any use of Cat having a “form” or a “box” where people can submit crazy crap that they come across so that the Cat authors might “take it up?”

    Yeah yeah yeah…I know, we already get some “crazies” here anyway 🙂

  9. Eddystone

    Last time I looked, the Open Thread was infested. 🙁

  10. I know, Ed. Maybe the Cat needs a Crazy Pit. “[A]ll leftist commenters are invited to play exclusively in the comments section of this post alone. If need be, comments from other posts will be shifted here to maintain a secure playground environment.”


  11. Lysander Spooner

    Thanks for your support Sdog. Open Forum is a little misdirected (but still lots of fun! 🙂 ) But perhaps there’s a way people can actually submit a story for proper consideration by Cat-hartics?

    I think the site runs really well (and is budgeted better than any Federal Budget ever handed down)so I don’t want to upset the “vibe” – it was just a thought.

    Back to productivity now folks….I’ve got a memo to write on a report that was commissioned by a review.


  12. Jannie

    Productivity is at best, an abstract concept.

    Rabz, any line supervisor, team leader or office manager will have a very clear appreciation of the productivity of the individuals in the team, as well as the overall output of the unit. That includes allowing for complaince and regulations, unmeasurables such as morale and loyalty, which may be traded off for output to some extent. It becomes a very concrete concept when you are required to let staff go, and must select the least useful, the books don’t tell you who gets the chop.

  13. Steve D

    Lysander, Sinc is always open to putting up a ‘guest’ post.

  14. Rabz


    Fair enough, within an organisation (or sector) if you’re comparing like with like, examining profitability of business lines, capital V labour, etc.

    I was referring more to OHH’s aggregate measure across the economy, where the concept of national productivity does become more of a nonsense.

    The key factor is unsustainable (and inflexible) wage rates and conditions, which is why increased labour regulation and union bastardry are such a problem.

  15. Gavin R Putland

    “Can someone provide a link on productivity data?”

    I’ll provide two: .

    Cowgill subsequently notes that these inconvenient facts went unreported in the Oz and the Fin.

  16. Jannie

    Yeah Rabz, sorry I think I sort of commented a bit off the context, but I do agree with the point you make.

  17. Gavin R Putland

    And here’s another graph showing how the last quarter of economic growth, under this “Labor” government, was delivered on the backs of the working class: .

    I should concede, however, that while the graph shows the effect of the carbon tax on the real value of wages and salaries, it doesn’t show the offsetting effect of the income-tax cuts.

  18. Rabz

    Jannie, they were good points you made, nonetheless.

  19. .

    Cowgill subsequently notes that these inconvenient facts went unreported in the Oz and the Fin.

    Unemployment is up?

    How the bloody hell is this a good thing, Gav?

  20. Gavin R Putland

    Dot: Notwithstanding the international comparisons that Swan keeps boasting about, I’m not defending the government’s record on employment, and I don’t regard Swan’s avoidance of recession as any better than kicking the can down the road. I was answering a question on productivity.

  21. Gab

    Who is this Matt Cowgill and why should we take his word on unsourced graphs and information?

  22. Poor Old Rafe

    Updating the post with information from the wharves. The graph in this story tellst he story, declining productivity from 2010.

    Making Australians poorer.

    As Mr Banks told the conference, there is no one solution to the productivity problem: it must become the guiding narrative of every piece of public policy. The key was flexibility rather than capability: reforming industrial relations and removing red tape and other obstacles from business would yield a greater reward than propping up ailing industries or picking green technology winners.

    As the national anthem celebrates, our wealth comes from toil. In the future, it will come from toiling more productively.

    I am not talking about macro measures of productivity, they will decline if you employ more marginal (unproductive) workers under a regime where wages are flexible enough to take on people who have little education, no training and no experience. But everyone will be better off, demonstrating the limited value of macro indicators.

  23. .

    Err, productivity per worker increases when unemployment rises. There is excess capacity.

  24. Rafe

    That is probably what Matt Cowgill demonstrated.

  25. If you really want to get advanced, “productivity” as a concept also goes out of date every day in proportion to innovation. It gets cemented into statistical analyses because the assumptions they make about how shit gets done are necessarily fixed. So as well as being Stalinist propaganda, it also doesn’t tell us much about anything.
    Like, how many cartwheels get made every day? Fuckall. Does that mean productivity is down?

  26. .

    Technology too must be measured, yes.

    Technology is the crystallisation of productivity enhancing knowledge. it is valuable because knowledge can be lost and more so for tacit knowledge.

    Given that labour productivity can increase under perverse circumstances, this may mean we’ve also taken a shock in terms of technology. Which would lower incomes and potential income/output.

    This is confirmed by the excess capacity we have at the moment.

  27. Brian4Jesus

    So in a free society workers are free to associate and pursue a common interest that may include a withdrawal of their labour, doesn’t that right distinguish us from the extremes of left and right?
    Who would suggest that a business continue trading if management determined it was not in its interest to do so. Last time I looked they were free to pursue their best interest.

  28. .

    What’s your point? We believe in free association and property rights.

    “Last time I looked”…what is this in relation to. Who has suggested otherwise?

  29. Brian4Jesus

    Er, sorry, I made the mistake of reading poor old rfes intro, assumed he was trying to make a point.

  30. Poor Old Rafe

    What point are you trying to make Brian?

    Thanks Gab, however it is hard to interpret aggregated data, it is much more helpful to look at a single sector or firm where you are talking about concrete things like the number of crane movements or containers moved per shift on the waterfront, or you can target specific bad work practices in an industry like commercial building.

    This is more focussed.

    This is helpful, a speech by Gary Banks, Chairman of the Productivity Commission.

  31. .

    What point are you trying to make Brian?

    He’s a left wing troll for jesus, but I’m guessing he’s a splitter or wants to be a woman.

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