||Issue No. 277||19 August 2005|
Interview: On Holiday
Unions: One Day Longer
Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Politics: Spun Out
Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
History: Taking a Stand
International: The Split
Legal: Pushing the Friendship
Poetry: Simple Subtractions
Review: Sydney Trashed
The Locker Room
Think of the Kids
Stand Your Ground
AWAs Bully the Sisters
Thea Birch Fitch and Jasmin Smith have joined academics and even the Employment Advocate in telling a Senate Inquiry that women are the big losers from individual contracts.
The two made personal submissions to the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Committee Inquiry into Workplace Agreements.
They said were pressured to sign individual contracts that left them thousands of dollars out pocket.
The pressure was so great that Fitch was left in a manager's office in tears, while the AWA left Jasmin Smith working a 16.5 hour shift at a flat rate $10.85 an hour.
"My mother approached the Manager to request more time for me to seek further advice,' says Smith, who was 18 at the time. "He refused this request and made it clear that I was expected to return the signed Agreement by the deadline and that no extensions or exceptions would be made."
"This goes to the very issue of what sort of workplace do we want for our kids," says Gerard Dwyer from the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).
"It's simply unfair to set a kid straight out of school up against a global fast food chain."
The SDA had recently uncovered numerous instances of AWAs leaving retail workers who were already on modest incomes over $70 a week worse off.
Even the Office of the Employer Advocate has conceded women on individual contracts in the retail industry are earning half the wages of men.
In its submission to a the inquiry the OEA patted itself on the back with five year old "customer satisfaction" figures and five year old statistics.
The OEA's senate submission is based in part on research undertaken for the OEA by Paul Gollan from the London School of Economics.
This research was criticised by internationally recognised workplace economist David Peetz who pointed out that it flew in the face of over half a dozen other studies into AWAs.
"One clear factor is the failure to distinguish between managerial/professional and "ordinary" employees,' says Peetz.
"For ordinary employees pay is less satisfactory, hours are likely to increase, and the work-family balance is more difficult for AWA employees than for other employees."
The OEA submission to the Senate Inquiry also stated that:
- 56% of AWAs abolish penalty rates
- 15% limit on hours worked
- 38% let employers direct employees to carry out any type of work, regardless of what they were hired for
- 5% ensured annual leave must be taken
- 1% provided for religious leave and 3% for study leave
- 46% of women on AWAs have access to sick leave
- 53% of people on AWAs found work harder
"The OEA's own submission to the senate inquiry show women in retail are earning 50% of their male counterparts,' says Dwyer. "Sixty eight per cent of AWAs do not prescribe any future pay rises.
Click here to read all the submissions:
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