WorkChoices under more attack

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WorkChoices under more attack

The ACTU says a media report on a young bricklayer earning $400 a week less that his workmates because he was hired on an AWA reinforces a new report which says low-skilled workers are worse off under WorkChoices. Meanwhile the West Australian Government is moving to protect young workers from the Federal WorkChoices legislation by bringing them under the State's Industrial Relations Commission.

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The ACTU says a media report on a young bricklayer earning $400 a week less that his workmates because he was hired on an AWA reinforces a new report which says low-skilled workers are worse off under WorkChoices. Meanwhile the West Australian Government is moving to protect young workers from the Federal WorkChoices legislation by bringing them under the State's Industrial Relations Commission.

AWA hit him like a ton of bricks

The ACTU says a media report on a young bricklayer earning $400 a week less that his workmates because he was hired on an AWA reinforces a new report which says low-skilled workers are worse off under WorkChoices.

The ACTU says The Age in Melbourne yesterday ran a story describing the experience of 17 year-old brick worker, Luke Wilkie.

Non-negotiable AWA

The story says Wilkie was 17 when he signed up for his first job in March this year, on a non-negotiable AWA at the Austral Bricks factory in the northern Melbourne suburb of Craigieburn.

His job was to operate a brick making machine called an extruder.

Wilkie is paid $12 an hour, compared with the $20 his workmates earn for doing the same job. He works 12 hours a day, from 6am to 6pm, four days on and then four days off.

Works through rest breaks

'The story says he was promised training but in six months has only seen the trainer once,' ACTU President, Sharan Burrow, said.

'He is often forced to work through his rest breaks and is pressured to work harder and faster.'

She said Wilkie's AWA explicitly rules out award entitlements such as overtime and shift penalties, extra annual leave and paid rest breaks.

'He is not even entitled to a visit from the union. Construction union representatives have been denied access to his site, because there are no workers under the award in that particular plant.

'The Workplace Ombudsman and the relevant training authority should immediately investigate. The Howard Government cannot continue to ignore the impact of its IR laws on ordinary workers and should carefully consider the Sydney University report released yesterday,' Burrow added.

Related

WorkChoices hits low-skilled workers hard: major study

WA moves to protect young workers from WorkChoices

The Western Australian Government is moving to protect young workers from the Federal WorkChoices legislation by bringing them under the State's Industrial Relations Commission.

Employment Protection Minister, Michelle Roberts, said the legislation would ensure young workers, in particular, were not disadvantaged by under-award conditions.

'Specifically, constitutional corporations who employ children under certain Federal arrangements will be required to comply with prescribed State award conditions such as wages, meal breaks, overtime and allowances,' Roberts said.

Rectify situation

'If these conditions are not complied with, the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) can step in to rectify the situation.'

Roberts said the new legislation would mean unpaid trial work involving children would be restricted to one day per calendar year and young workers employed under WorkChoices would be able to claim unfair dismissal.

Under the legislation, the WAIRC would have the power to mediate and provide options to resolve workplace issues at minimal cost.

Dispute resolution

Roberts said the dispute resolution legislation would benefit small businesses by providing them with inexpensive options for resolution and mediation, as opposed to using expensive commercial arbitration or the courts under WorkChoices.

The legislation would also provide protection for injured workers if they were dismissed within a specified period, and for those workers who raise safety concerns and were subsequently discriminated against.

Bill

The bill can be found at the WA Parliament website.

Related

Survey shows IR changes will make young workers vulnerable 

Unfair dismissal protection for NSW young workers: law


 

 

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