It has always been the role of unions to attempt to protect their members’ jobs – but now it seems they are beginning to use financial rather than industrial muscle to do so.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the Electrical Trades Union is planning to invest $2 million of its funds to help set up a manufacturing plant to build clean energy power generators in Melbourne.
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The idea appears to be that by investing in a plant to build the generators, which run on compressed air and ambient heat, the union will both make a profit on its investment and create jobs for its members.
“We think green technology is pretty important. We’ve often said to anyone who would listen there’s no jobs on a dead planet and we have to get pretty serious about green technology,” ETU branch secretary Dean Mighell told the paper.
The strategy is not without risks for the union, of course. As one IR academic told the paper, union officials are more accustomed to being workplace warriors than investment managers.