Whenever I read or hear about union activism my thoughts go back to a song. A song? In 1973, UK band the Strawbs released a ‘funny little song’ as part of their album, “Bursting at the Seams”. Now I’m pretty sure that the Strawbs aren’t around any longer, but the lyrics to that song still seem to resonate at least with me some 42 years later.

So what’s up with unions? If you’ve followed the Trade Union Royal Commission hearings, you’ll be as aghast as I am at the nefarious goings on of various unions in Australia. Chief amongst the unions under the microscope is the CFMEU. What the actual situation is with this particular union will obviously be revealed in the report from the Royal Commission. That the Opposition Leader of the Labour Party has somehow been implicated in these issues is disappointing to say the least.

So what’s my point? This blog is about weekend work. It’s about time and a half and double time that’s payable by employers to employees. My question? Given that most of the casual workers who do weekend work aren’t union members, why aren’t the unions and government asking these people specifically whether they’d be prepared to work extra hours (and earn extra wages) without receiving time and a half or double time. Surely this is the way forward rather than unions and their cronies pontificating about loss of rights.

My own company, Northstar Motor Group, generally didn’t do a lot of overtime. We’d have liked our service department to be open on Saturdays, but to do that we needed a technician for a minimum 3 hour shift, along with at least one supervisor. Arguably our customers weren’t happy to pay and extra $45 for the service on their car. And who could blame them. If you interested in voicing your opinion, send a letter or email to your local member. If you want your kids to get some more hours for weekend work, perhaps an investigation of the opinions of those actually involved would be more pertinent rather than just taking the thoughts of union leaders into account.

Now, have a listen to the Strawbs and read the lyrics. Still relevant today?

PART OF THE UNION – The Strawbs – 1973

Now I’m a union man

Amazed at what I am

I say what I think, that the company stinks

Yes I’m a union man

When we meet in the local hall

I’ll be voting with them all

With a hell of a shout, it’s “Out brothers, out!”

And the rise of the factory’s fall


Oh, you don’t get me, I’m part of the union

You don’t get me, I’m part of the union

You don’t get me, I’m part of the union

Until the day I die, until the day I die

As a union man I’m wise

To the lies of the company spies

And I don’t get fooled by the factory rules

‘Cause I always read between the lines

And I always get my way

If I strike for higher pay

When I show my card to the Scotland Yard

And this is what I say


Before the union did appear

My life was half as clear

Now I’ve got the power to the working hour

And every other day of the year

So though I’m a working man

I can ruin the government’s plan

And though I’m not hard, the sight of my card

Makes me some kind of superman

Chorus (twice)

Source of lyrics: or if you want to watch/listen to the song, click on this link:-

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