||Issue No. 203||14 November 2003|
Beyond the Workplace
Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
Unions: Joel's Law
National Focus: Spring Carnival
Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
Industrial: The Price of War
Economics: Who's Got What
History: Containing Discontent
Review: An Honourable Wally
Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
Perils Of Pauline
Put A PM On The Barbie
Tom Holds Water
Every good bully understands that there is no point in hitting a strong target when you can beat up on the vulnerable and the weak. That's why this week's revelations that the Office of the Employment Advocate (which strangely doesn't seem to be interested in doing much advocacy that helps people in employment) has set it sights on pushing school leavers on to individual employment contracts.
Jonathan Hamberger, who must be confused as to why people don't want to beg for a living, wrote to 2,500 schools across Australia touting non-union individual contracts to students.
It's a pity the Federal government can't adequately fund the very sector it's using to push its narrow agenda.
No doubt the OEA looks forward to a happy day when a whole pile of school leavers present themselves to employers with a begging bowl, saying "Please sir, can I have some more?"
The bottom line is that negotiating as an individual didn't help Oliver, and it won't help young people.
It was also revealed this week that Hamberger's little office suggests that the boss might be a good person to consult with when working out your employment conditions.
Which is a bit like asking a loan shark for financial advice.
Of course this all makes sense if we view our fellow Australians as merely units of production that can be picked up and put down like a shovel. It must come as a relief to them that these young people aren't human beings who need stability, financial security or who may aspire to the sorts of working conditions their parent's generation enjoyed.
Luckily Jonathan Hamberger is there to assist this headlong plunge into third world working conditions.
To assist in this process Hamberger's little office has a website to explain the wonders of the Australian Workplace Agreement. There is some nice wallpaper and a heartwarming little story about a young Australian who has embraced AWAs. The unfortunate truth is that young Australian has lost his AWA job and is "unsure" about his redundancy entitlements.
Nothing should really surprise us from an administration that is throwing pensioners into the street, but Hamberger's foray into the education sector is a wonderful insight into the depths this mob will go. School leavers are obviously a nice soft touch for this clown, and leaving a sixteen-year-old to get stood over by a boss is obviously a fair thing in his eyes.
It's also refreshing to see the independence of the public service raising its ugly head, with Hamberger able to present a range of options for young people, and not just a narrow, ideologically driven agenda that works for a narrow section of the population.
One can only assume it will be a bloody cold day in hell the day that Hamberger wakes up to the fact that the reason why many Australians enjoy a reasonable standard of living is because of decades of collective effort by trade union members.
No doubt a stint in the Tool Shed will do wonders for the Employment McAdvocate Jonathan Hamberger. Who knows, maybe he might even get to sleep at night, because a person would be stuffed to know how he can after this last little exercise.
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