||Issue No. 247||19 November 2004|
In Defence of Jeff
Interview: The Reich Stuff
Economics: Crime and Punishment
Environment: Beyond The Wedge
International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Politics: Labo(u)r Day
Human Rights: Arabian Lights
History: Labour's Titan
Review: Foxy Fiasco
Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
The Locker Room
Shawly we’ve heard enough
Decline of The American Empire
$5000 Bill for Teen
The tree-lopper was handed the bill after a piece of machinery he was using broke down, sparking claims that employers are forcing youngsters into bodgey contracting situations to keep jobs.
In another incident a building company sacked its entire workforce and told them to come back with ABNs after three young workers pushed to become permanent, as they are entitled to under the Queensland award after six weeks on the job.
The builder was found to have been substantially underpaying his workers, including telling them that casuals had no rights to superannuation.
A shopping trolley collector was also robbed after the supermarket he was working at denied him access to a lunch room or any facility, telling him to dump his backpack at the front of the store. The backpack was subsequently stolen.
The incidents were brought to light by the Queensland Young Workers' Advisory Service, who point out that large supermarket chains, and other employers, seek to place the people that work for them at arms length.
The move has exposed trolley collectors to being sued for thousands of dollars for damage to cars and shops.
On top of this teenagers working as contractors are expected to provide their own insurance, worker's compensation and superannuation despite being paid as little as $15 an hour.
"A lot of young people are being put onto contracts and told to get their own ABN or their employment ceases," says Aaron Allegretto of the Queensland Young Workers' Advisory Service who hear of many scams involving teenage workers.
"Employers want the flexibility of a casual employee with the loyalty of a permanent employee," says Allegretto. "Employers are not willing to give reciprocal flexibility."
"They want them to be employees when it suits them and contractors when it suits them."
The situation has deteriorated to the point where Legal Aid Queensland is advising young people not to take up work as supermarket trolley collectors.
The Young Workers' Advisory Service has also heard of instances were trainees and apprentices have been "coerced' into cancelling their training after they have raised issues regarding sexual harrassment.
"Some training providers are quite good but the norm seems to be that because they complain young workers are taken out of the workforce,' says Allegretto. "With this trend we will get more and more young people complaining about how they are being treated."
The Queensland Young Workers' Advisory Service is funded by the state's Department of Industrial relations.
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