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Phoebe Loomes

NSW unions propose EBA fee for non-members

Unions propose non-members be charged a fee for the negotiation of enterprise bargaining agreements. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Non-union members could be charged a fee to stop them cashing in on benefits negotiated by unions in enterprise agreements.

Unions NSW says workers who are not in a union, but enjoy benefits from enterprise bargaining agreements negotiated by unions, would be charged a fee under a new proposal.

The fee would be capped at 70 per cent of what a regular union member pays, the organisation said on Tuesday in a statement.

The proposals are part of its Jobs Worth Fighting For report, put together ahead of the Albanese government's jobs and skills summit next week.

Nearly one-third of workers in private businesses benefit from EBAs, yet only 9.5 per cent of those workers pay union fees, according to a union analysis.

"It's time to stop people taking a free ride on their colleagues who contribute to better pay and conditions for all workers," Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey said.

He compared it to people using public utilities like roads and hospitals, and then being given a choice about paying tax.

"This sensible plan is based on the simple principle of fairness," he said.

"If you want to enjoy the benefits of union-negotiated deals, then you must make a contribution."

Unions NSW also suggested skilled migrants should be paid 30 per cent above the median wage, to tackle the country's skills shortage.

The proposal suggests if an employer is willing to pay a migrant 30 per cent above the median wage, then the temporary skilled worker visa process should be streamlined.

Under the plan, the government could scrap the need to advertise the position first in Australia, known as labour market testing, and phase out the skilled occupation list.

Employers could instead choose to hire overseas workers at higher wages.

"Labour market testing is broken," Mr Morey said.

"The ineffective regime won't fix Australia's deepening skills crisis and isn't designed for 2022."

The union's proposal would contribute to lifting wages in NSW and empower industry to fill gaps in its workforce, he added.

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