Labor promises at centre of union membership drives

Amid accusations from employers that Prime Minister Julia Gillard is increasingly catering to unions, signs suggest that unions are using Labor's policy promises at the forefront of their membership drives, according to The Australian.

The union campaigns target more than 300,000 workers and stress that joining unions will give members access to some of the $1.5 billion worth of funds Labor has pledged to lift wages in the childcare and aged care sectors.

Employers say they fear the campaigns will result in rising wage claims, as the funds promised by Labor will only go to those that sign enterprise bargaining agreements with staff.

The United Voice union is saying Labor's promise will results in pay raises of up to $10,571 annually so long as they qualify by completing three steps – the first of which is joining the union.

The Coalition has accused Labor of unfairly favouring the union movement in a bid to reverse the party's waning fortunes ahead of September's federal election.

The Coalition's aged care spokeswoman, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells called Labor's promises “nothing more than an industrial process designed to boost union members”, according to The Australian.

Labor has promised to spend $1.2 billion on salary supplements in aged care and $300 million on salaries in childcare, but the money will only go to employers who sign enterprise bargaining agreements with staff, bolstering union recruitment efforts.