Most workers have no say in AWAs - survey


Most workers have no say in AWAs - survey

Two-thirds of workers under AWAs had no say in their content, a South Australian union survey has shown.


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Two-thirds of workers under AWAs had no say in their content, a South Australian union survey has shown.

The survey, conducted by a US organisation with software that prevents multiple entries, also shows that 86% of workers received no compensation for entitlements lost under the AWAs.

The survey, conducted in June, will be used as part of the SA unions submission to the Inquiry into WorkChoices initiated by the SA Industrial Relations Commission on 27 March 2007.

The following is a summary of the survey results.

Agreement making

How effectively were people able to negotiate the terms of their AWA?

Sixty-two respondents provided information about their experiences in negotiating an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) since March 2006.

  • 66.7% agreed they had no choice in the content of the AWA while only 18.4% agreed that some of their suggestions were included in the terms of the AWA;
  • only 29.4% indicated they had access to independent advice while 49% agreed they had the mandatory 1 week consideration period;
  • only 18% indicated they were happy with the outcome of their negotiations.

Have general workplace conditions been lost or reduced?

197 respondents provided comments on whether a range of entitlements had been reduced or lost as a result of WorkChoices.

The top four nominated matters were:

  • harder for union official to visit workplace – 40.6%
  • no access to unfair dismissal arrangements – 26.9%
  • less flexibility for leave arrangements – 25.4%
  • overtime penalty rates – 24.9%

Given the extent of changed entitlements, did respondents receive any compensation?

189 respondents provided information on whether they received any compensation for any of the entitlements that had been traded off during the agreement process, and 86.2% received no compensation.

Unfair dismissal

To what extent did respondents consider they were unfairly sacked?

22 respondents indicated they had been unfairly sacked from their job of the 44 who indicated they had been dismissed from their employment.

Impact in the workplace

Has there been a change in employer attitudes?

145 (46.5%) of respondents indicated they have noticed a change in their employer’s attitude to workplace issues since March 2006. Additionally, 72 respondents provided further comments about the impact of the new laws in their workplace.

Are people able to balance work requirements with other activities?

34.5% of respondents indicated that since the introduction of WorkChoices it was harder or significantly harder for them to balance work and non work activities.

General observations

Have people heard about WorkChoices?

89.2% of respondents had heard about WorkChoices.

Will future pay increases under WorkChoices keep up with rises in prices?

Only 14.5% of respondents thought that their level of pay would keep up with prices rises after the WorkChoices changes.

Do employers want further changes in new agreements?


66.1% indicated pay offer would be below 2% pa – below inflation.


15.2% indicated would lose some value of current overtime arrangements

Shift allowances

17.8% indicated would lose some value of current shift allowance arrangements

Annual leave

25% indicated that the employer would promote cashing out of two weeks annual leave

Redundancy pay

43.2% indicated they would only be offered minimum standard.


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