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  Issue No 48 Official Organ of LaborNet 31 March 2000  




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Action Boosts Wages for Disabled Workers

By Mickael Kjaerbye

Workers with disabilities at a NSW workplace now have career paths and a better wages system thanks to a new Union-backed agreement.

Greenacres, at Wollongong, employs 130 people with developmental disabilities to make products including small packaging, lights and body bags.

LHMU industrial officer Matt Warburton said the agreement - the first of its kind - provided a system of independent assessment for employees with disabilities.

Many Workers Were Paid at the Lowest Rate

Before, the rate of pay for employees with disabilities was worked out as a percentage of the work they did compared to an able-bodied employee.

But without any independent system to assess their productivity, the decision was left to management. 'This meant many workers in the industry were paid at the lowest rate,' said Matt.

Workers Assessed on a Range of Competencies

As well as providing an individual assessment tool to work out an appropriate wage, the agreement creates career paths by assessing workers on a range of competencies.

'Some are work and skills-based competencies and others relate to more general life skills such as getting along with co-workers and arriving at work on time,' said Matt.

'If they can improve their level of productivity they get an increase in payment or higher classification.'

Delegate John Kingston said the agreement was a boost for workers and improved their working lives.

Greenacres became the first disability service in Australia to be named a Best Practice organisation for its affirmative action program in December, 1999.


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*   Issue 48 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: The New President
At the end of her first week in the job, new ACTU President Sharan Burrow trades emails with Workers Online.
*  Health: Making Sense of Medicare
Nurses lift the lid on the Medicare myths as they shape up for a major national campaign.
*  Unions: Bush Bashing
The Finance Sector Union is taking to the road to pressure the government to impose community service obligations on banks.
*  Politics: The French Connection
While Victorian building unions are seeking a 36 hour week, Eurpoean nations like France are taking a more communcal approach to working time.
*  Economics: Mutual Obligation
New statistics show that an increasing number of people are volunteering to contribute to the community.
*  History: Living Library - Part II
More on the rich labour history that is housed within the walls of Sydney's Mitchell Library.
*  International: Russian Revolution
Russian trade unions are calling for the revision of a draft Labour Code, against the backdrop of Presidential elections.
*  Review: Casino Royale
Laurie Aaron's new book is sparking a lively debate about how a progressive agenda can be adapted to the challenges of globalisation.
*  Satire: Chop ‘em Up and Stick ‘em in Acid”
The West Australian Government is poised to pass Pakistani-style sentencing laws.

»  Workers Demand Internet Access to Organise
»  ILO Condemns Australian Labor Laws
»  Flying Doctor Grounds Aussie Jobs
»  Bank-Bulance Hits the Road
»  April Deadline on Olympics Pay Claim
»  Pressure Builds on Stellar Contract
»  Shares Plummets But Rio Bosses Get Millions
»  Nurses to Launch Medicare Campaign
»  Action Boosts Wages for Disabled Workers
»  SA Workers Close Building Industry
»  Political Economy for Activists
»  Workers to Set the Tunes for Dili Streets
»  OBITUARY - George Petersen (1921-2000)

»  The Soapbox
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  An Open Letter to Ansett
»  Moved by Wal's Life Story
»  The Problem With Mandatory Sentencing

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