||Issue No. 204||21 November 2003|
Holes in the Net
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
Public Transport A Bit Rich
Exposed – OEA in Kids Scandal
Workers Online blew the whistle after the Federal Government’s Employment Advocate, Jonathan Hamberger, wrote to every secondary school in Australia promoting non-union individual contracts to school leavers.
Hamberger told principals to make school leavers aware of his "youthserve" site that featured a 21-year-old Tasmanian spruiking AWAs.
Justin Hill advised school leavers that an AWA would take them "one step further than the state or federal award and may contain clauses specific to your individual workplace."
He said, as a young employee, he enjoyed an "equal" relationship with management at Antarctic Adventure, Hobart.
Alongside colour photos of himself interacting with penguins, Hill told young websurfers his AWA offered a career structure. "I have had the opportunity to move up the ranks allowing me to get where I am today," he said.
What the OEA failed to point out was that, today, Hill is down the road at Hobart's Corus Hotel, working under the terms and conditions of a state award because Antarctic Adventures ceased operations less than five months after the OEA chose to champion its employment policies.
When Workers Online rang Antarctic Adventure we were told the company had gone "bust", closing its doors on October 10, and, under the terms of its AWAs, paid redundancy to only seven of the 19 predominantly young people it had employed.
The story exposing the Antarctic Adventure fallacy went up on Workers Online, last Friday. This week, without any explanation, the OEA removed "Up Close and Personal with Justin Hill" from its site.
Now when readers click "Case Study" on the homepage they are told "this site is under construction - go back to the OEA Youth Services homepage".
Workers Online checked out the Youthserve site after Nimbin teacher, Phil Roberts, alerted the public to Hamberger's co-option of the secondary school system, describing his letter as a "blatant example" of the Howard Government agenda "premeating schools".
The letter went to 2500 principals, courtesy of the taxpayer. It touted individual contracts, which have stripped conditions and as much as $10,000 a year off individual workers, as the future for school leavers.
It only promoted AWAs and did not even mention the possibility that school leavers could be employed on collective contracts.
The Howard Government sold AWAs on the basis of "choice" but Hamberger concedes, on the Youthserve site, that school leavers can be forced to accept an AWA as a condition of employment.
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