Labor unions are a crucial part of our economy, and they are under threat from the rise of Trump-style trade unions.
But for some workers, unions are becoming the next battleground, according to an analysis by a research group at the University of Sydney.
The group looked at the rise in anti-unions violence over the last decade.
It found that anti-government sentiment had reached an all-time high, with the proportion of Australians who felt they had been the victim of violence in the past five years increasing by 10 per cent.
This trend is particularly alarming for migrant workers, who account for about one in four of the population, and those with low skills, who are less likely to be employed by unions.
As well as increasing anti-business sentiment, this trend also reflects a broader trend towards more economic nationalism and less tolerance of other cultures.
These factors, along with an increase in self-censorship in many industries, mean that the number of unions in Australia is shrinking, as workers increasingly feel they are being excluded from the mainstream of their profession.
This is especially the case for younger people, who have a harder time getting involved in unions.
The research was carried out by the Australian Centre for Economic Policy Research (ACER), a think-tank, which is based at the Australian National University.
The ACER research is one of the first to show that antiunion sentiment is increasing among young people, with young people being more likely to believe they are not represented by a union than their elders.
The organisation said the research showed that many young people were “uncomfortable with the possibility of union membership” and “consider union membership to be an unnecessary and potentially damaging intrusion on their personal and collective identities”.
According to the research, young people’s views on unions are also less favourable towards women, Indigenous Australians and the disabled.
The findings come after a series of deadly attacks on workers at a number of businesses including a fire at a Chinese restaurant in Canberra in May and a shooting at a Sydney café in October.
This prompted the Australian Federal Police to announce it was taking action against businesses in the industry over the attacks.
According to an ABC report, the number one reason young people had not joined unions had to do with fear of violence.
“If you’re a young person who’s not particularly concerned about being attacked, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not going to join a union,” Professor Andrew Ferguson, one of ACER’s senior research economists, told the ABC.
“They’re afraid of being shot, or of being assaulted.”
The research also found that there is a “sharp increase” in self abuse towards workers and employees of the hospitality sector, with an increasing number of incidents of workplace violence.
In 2017, the union representing the catering sector reported 4,400 incidents of anti-social behaviour against employees, while the Australian Workers Union recorded more than 4,600 incidents.
While some of these incidents were linked to workers being assaulted, the majority were reported as being the result of “a person acting out of self-interest”.
In a similar way, some workers said they were not being able to speak out about anti-trade union behaviour because they were afraid of reprisals.
“There are some workplaces that have a really hostile culture around their employees and they’re just not going and speaking out about it because they’re afraid it will hurt their job,” one of these employees, who wished to remain anonymous, told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“You know, you just can’t say anything.
You know, if you’re speaking out you’re going to get in trouble.
You’re going get your job.
It’s just, you know, the reality of it.”
The ACERS research found that young people are increasingly becoming aware of the threats they face, including the growing numbers of antiunion and anti-employer attitudes in the workplace.
“Young people are finding it more difficult to say no to bullying and intimidation, and to not feel comfortable speaking out,” Professor Ferguson said.
The number of young people who feel they have been the target of violence is increasing.
“We have seen a huge increase in antiunion violence in recent years, with attacks increasing by 20 per cent over the past 5 years, and that’s just the number we can see,” Professor Michaela McLeod, the president of ACERS, said.
“It is a real concern and one that needs to be taken very seriously.”
The increase in attacks comes as the ACTU and the Victorian Labor government have both recently proposed changes to the workplace safety law that could see unions lose their legal status and be subject to penalties.
In February, the Victorian government announced changes to its workplace safety laws, including a ban on union and union affiliated organisations.
In April, the ACTUC said it would not defend the repeal of the union law in court.
However, a spokesman for the ACTC said the union’s “firm stance on this issue remains unchanged”.
“The union will continue to support the