||Issue No. 322||01 September 2006|
Justice, Applied Liberally
Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
Unions: Industrial Wasteland
International: Two Bob's Worth
Economics: National Interest
Environment: The Real Dinosaur
History: Only In Spain?
Review: Clerk Off
Amber's Law Pulps WorkChoices
The NSW Government announced it would write the laws, pushed by unions, on the same day it was revealed Amber Oswald had been stood down without notice.
Amber won a case against Pulp Juice after the company attempted to use WorkChoices to scrap penalty rates and shift allowances, in a bid to cut her take home pay by more than 40 per cent.
Amber's example gave impetus to a union push for special laws preventing companies forcing workers aged under 18 onto Australian Workplace Agreements. That resolution was passed by the NSW ALP State Conference in May, becoming official policy.
While the company says the store is closed for 're-branding' it is also waiting for a case of under-paying workers that could lead it to being fined $400,000.
Within hours of the news of Amber's sacking breaking, NSW Premier Morris Iemma had called a press conference announcing the legislation, that would protect 150,000 young workers in NSW.,
Under the new laws, regardless of whether a young person is employed under a state or federal award:
* Wages and conditions will have to be at least at the level provided by NSW awards and legislation; and
* Young workers will not have to bargain individually to maintain their existing penalties, allowances, training pay and training leave.
They will also have access to the services provided by the NSW Office of Industrial Relations where they will have access to information about their employment rights and assistance to enforce their entitlements.
"Work Choices has dramatically altered the workplace for many people,": Iemma says.
"It allows the removal of protections and conditions that young workers were previously guaranteed - like meal allowances, training leave and penalty and overtime rates.
"Work Choices gives unscrupulous employers the right to force pay down and strip conditions from young workers, and compels good employers to follow suit if they want to remain competitive.
"This new legislation will prevent this from happening."
Iemma says that Work Choices makes it clear that laws regarding child employment are the responsibility of State and Territory governments.
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