Friday, October 14, 2005

Work Choices - Diminishing, They Are

Sorry if I sound like Yoda. The Australian Government has been bellyaching about their new Work Choices package. Basically they want to make it easier for employers to employee employees which may, or may not, result in decades worth of working conditions being eroded. Conditions such as meal breaks, overtime (penalty rates) pay, holidays etc. Apparently enough employees have been complaining about the need to only have two weeks paid holiday leave per year instead of four weeks. Hmmm.

The Government believes that workers should have the choice to make that decision. I find it a little disturbing. Nowadays you are generally employed under an Award Agreement and your working conditions are laid out and fairly straightforward. The plan is for the employer to offer you a contract with what terms and conditions they like and it becomes take it or leave it. People that have a job now won't be affected. Those that change jobs most certainly will be. I think that the young are most likely to be exploited as they aren't so aware of the current award conditions.

Why do we need this form of labour reform? At my last employer I had a set pay rate, that I had negotiated, and I decided that instead of having my 10 minute smoko break (paid as you are due a 10 min break for every four hours that you work) and a 20 minute unpaid lunch break, that I would work for four hours and eat my lunch in 10 minutes. That way I had an extra 20 minutes in the day. I also worked nine hours a day instead of eight in case anything cropped up and I needed to take some time off. If nothing cropped up he could pay me for 45 hours without overtime.

I was more than happy to work like this. But, a big but, I had a boss who treated me fairly and I wasn't about to be ripped off. I don't see that happening in a lot of workplaces including many places I have worked.

I think that there is a bigger picture here and it has been seriously overlooked. This is really a Government initiative to reduce welfare benefits. It must be well diguised at the moment as nobody in the media has made mention of it. If you are offered a contract that is blatantly going to reduce your benefits you are quite within your rights to refuse it. BUT, if you are on welfare benefits and refuse to take a job your benefits will be cut. Dole bludgers beware!! You will soon be taken out of existence by new laws. It's not about making it easier for employers as the Government would have us believe.


ben said...

Interesting!!! Did you reach that insight all by yourself?

The Oposition and the press are not as bright as you are.

Hammy said...

All my own work. I am capable of putting two and two together.

Hammysmum said...

This is a former maths and science whizz kid you are talking about , Ben. He won several prizes in both kinds of competitions at high school. He is a very savvy young man. Mother;s pride aside, I have only spoken the truth.

Hammy said...

Ah, mum. Shucks. I'm quite capable of bragging for myself, although I know that wasn't your intention. Perhaps Ben was just spellbound by such insight.

Sam Ward said...

"BUT, if you are on welfare benefits and refuse to take a job your benefits will be cut. Dole bludgers beware!! You will soon be taken out of existence by new laws."

I really don't think this will be such a big issue. You don't have to tell centrelink if you are OFFERED a job, only if you've got one. If you are stupid enough to tell them that you were offered a job and refused it, well then you are probably too stupid to live in any case.

Hammy said...

I was under the impression that anyone on Centrelink benefits had to report job offers/refusals. I'm sure that businesses have better things to do than report dole bludgers who don't wish to work.

Just safer to stay away from the unemployment queues I reckon.