||Issue No. 257||01 April 2005|
Unions: State of the Union
Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Legal: Leg Before Picket
Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Health: Cannabis Controversy
Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
History: Politics In The Pubs
Review: Three Bob's Worth
Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
The Locker Room
Bus Lanes On Vic Rd
Dirt Cheap Right On Money
Letters to the Editor
Dirt Cheap Right On Money
Well done Elizabeth Wynhausen. I shall buy and read "Dirt Cheap" and hope there is some guidance as to what, as a worker we can do to improve things.
Having worked from home, self employed, whilst my child was growing up, I returned to the workforce in 2000 after a 20 yr absence.
I studied to enable me to apply for a reasonably well paid job as medical secretary, and landed a job quickly. Much to my amazement, "training" consisted of a couple of hours, with an irrated co worker, who clearly
expected me to know how to do the job, understand their software programme, billing, accounting, customer service, terminology etc. within a week, because after that, any questions about the job met with a response that I was either stupid or slow.
I left that job after a year, fed up of working with a practising alcoholic And drug user, who had so much time off, that I was doing half of her work.
Management did nothing to address her problem & simply ignored it.
I was "head hunted" from that practice by another very large and very busy radiology practice, a job I had zero experience in and promised training, as
My "trainer" told the manager, she was sick and would not train. He walked away and ignored the fact, that I was not going to get training. I was put
immediately on the front desk, dealing with up to 100 patients a day, with 2
This involved, reading referrals to decipher the type of scan required,
billing, working out which item no. to use, from 100's, deciding which
patients required barium drinks etc etc.
With a queue of patients waiting to be attended to, there was no time for me
to "learn" on the job, needless to say, numerous errors occured, not the least
of which was one patient being given a barium drink, when he didn't need it.
All the staff were constantly being warned, that someone would be "sacked"
so were always on edge, lots of back stabbing and politics. The more passive
agressive resorting to stealing fairly large sums of cash as revenge.
After being chastised by the doctors for "not knowing my job" then the
manager who had promised me "training" I tore strips off him and left. The
"Supervisor" in that job, had a habit of flashing her knickers at staff or
sticking the telephone up her skirt and into her crutch, when annoyed with
I moved on to another radiology practice, informing them that I had no
experience in the typing of dictation for radiology, then, the doctor became
very nasty and abusive when I didn't learn the terminology in one day, along
with the problem of his thick foreign accent.
At times he would take cash from the taking, not inform us, then we would
spend an extra hour or two, trying to find the missing money. He thought that was amusing.
Although I worked on saturdays too, I was told I would not be paid overtime.
This practice, would bulk bilk the local chinese community, after receiving
referrals from their doctors requesting bulk billing, yet, refused to bulk
bill Australian Pensioners or those on benefits.
I moved on to a Specialist to fill in for 3 months, my hours 9-5, but I was
expected to work until 8pm, wanting to keep the job, I did, and in the
process gave up a TAFE course that had cost me $500. I was not paid overtime rates or reimbursed for the loss of my TAFE fee.
I now work for a private hospital as a secretary to 4 doctors. In the
interview I was promised $20 per hour and a clause to be inserted in my
contact, that I would receive an increase in 3 months.
When I received the contract, I noticed the clause was missing and asked
that it be added, I waited and waited, then 2 weeks later was told, that if I
didn't sign my contact, my wages would not be paid.
After signing it I realised, my rate of pay had been changed to $19 an hour.
I worked 15 hours overtime and since the time sheet had a section for
overtime, I filled my hours in that column. I was promptly informed, that they do not pay "overtime".
I will also not be paid for any extra "ordinary" hours, unless I have permission from the Director, to work extra "ordinary" hours. So at the end of the day, if all the work is not done, I go home and leave it.
Every single job that I have worked in I have heard the same from co
workers, "we don't talk about unions" and "we all have to work extra hours". Most of the younger workers have absolutely no idea of their rights and even if you point them out, they are too afraid to do anything to enforce their rights.
There is an atmosphere of fear about losing a job and not wanting to cause
waves which leads everyone to passively accept bad conditions and pay. It
is time for Unions to have the strength that they used to have, if workers are
to have any rights and time for workers, to stop being afraid and stand up for
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