August – Lundy IR Update

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 @ 1:43PM

WorkChoices……busting the myth

Those of us opposed to the WorkChoices legislation always knew that the devil would be in the detail and so it has been proven.

The Howard Government’s refusal to conduct any research or analysis either before or after the commencement of the WorkChoices laws has been a disgrace. If the Government was so certain that the legislation really did deliver the best outcome for all working Australians, then why have they consistently refused to issue statistics backing up their claims? In fact the Howard Government has told the then Office of Employment Advocate (now renamed the Workplace Authority) not to issue any statistics at all, since the initial release of data proved what the ACTU had been saying for months.

So the first anniversary of the enactment of this legislation was March 27 and over one year on the Howard government is still refusing to tell us what the impact of WorkChoices has been on Australian working families.

Some of the statistics released by the ACTU show the following:

  • 100% cut at least one so called ‘protected award condition’;
  • 22% provided workers with no pay rise, some up to 5 years;
  • 51%cut overtime loadings;
  • 63%cut penalty rates;
  • 64% cut annual leave loading;
  • 46% cut public holidays payment;
  • 52% cut shift work loadings;
  • 40% cut rest breaks;
  • 46% cut incentive based payments and bonuses;
  • 48% cut monetary allowances;
  • 36%cut declared public holidays
  • 44%cut days to be substituted for public holidays.

To read the full ACTU report, “One Year On”, follow this link: The report

Telstra call-centre employees – another example of AWA’s gone wrong

The recent Four Corners programme aired on the ABC has once again highlighted the dire situation of employees in some call centres.

Telstra employs 10,000 call centre staff in customer service centres.The programme looked at the situation of employees at one of Telstra’s call centres and gave the employees a chance to tell their story. It also told the tragic story of the suicide of one young woman working in one of the centres.

The workers spoke of being trapped in the financial bind of having to work in centres such as Telstra’s and feel they are paying a hefty price for not meeting the benchmarks set by a corporate management structure. This structure is only interested in the bottom line and how to get the result as cheaply and as fast as possible. Penalties for not meeting KPI’s include loss of wages, up to 30% if targets are not met!

As a former consultant in a Telstra contact centre said “it was like, do you have a choice, and the choices were get on with it, get over it or get out”.

The employees described how every keyboard stroke and computer screen is monitored and every worker is presented with a print out of the work done and, where they have failed to achieve the targets set, they are “re-trained”. The workers also described how their breaks are monitored to the second and calls can be listened to without the workers knowledge.

All the Telstra call centres are offered AWA’s, and according to staff if they choose not to sign, then they don’t get the job.

It takes an expose such as Four Corners to highlight this experience. This is just one insight into a workplace where AWA’s have been used, but is certainly evidence of the negative impact the the Howard Government’s extreme laws have had on Australian workers.

Unlike the Howard Government, Labor is committed to restoring balance in the workplace.

For a full transcript of the show see: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2007/s1954636.htm

Howard’s so-called ‘fairness’ test

According to media reports, the majority of Australian Workplace Agreements retrospectively assessed by the Workplace Authority have failed the Howard Government’s ‘fairness’ test.

The changes have failed to fix the problems with Government’s unfair workplace laws and have placed further regulatory burdens on employers.

The Howard Government’s changes have simply been an extravagant excuse to spend more taxpayer’s money advertising these unfair laws in an election year, bringing the total amount to $75 million!

Of course the fact remains that if there was fairness in the system there would be no need to implement a ‘fairness test’.

To read a doorstop interview with Julia Gillard on this issue go to: http://www.alp.org.au/media/0507/dsidlop210.php

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