Thursday, February 21, 2008

Australian Workplace Agreements: non-existent figures released

From an Australian Government press release:

The Workplace Authority has provided the Government with data compiled and analysed from a sample of over 1700 Australian Workplace Agreements lodged between April and October 2006, data the previous Liberal government claimed didn’t exist.

The analysis of the 1748 AWAs shows that 89 per cent removed at least one so-called protected award condition:

  • 89 per cent excluded one or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 83 per cent excluded two or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 78 per cent excluded three or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 71 per cent excluded four or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 61 per cent excluded five or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 52 per cent excluded six or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 40 per cent excluded seven or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 30 per cent excluded eight or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 16 per cent excluded nine or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 8 per cent excluded ten or more so-called protected award conditions
  • 2 per cent excluded all eleven so-called protected award conditions

The analysis also revealed the so-called protected award conditions that were most frequently removed:

  • 70 per cent removed shift work loadings
  • 68 per cent removed annual leave loadings
  • 65 per cent removed penalty rates
  • 63 per cent removed incentive based payments and bonuses
  • 61 per cent removed days to be substituted for public holidays
  • 56 per cent removed monetary allowances
  • 50 per cent removed public holidays payment
  • 49 per cent removed overtime loadings
  • 31 per cent removed rest breaks
  • 25 per cent removed declared public holidays

The limited data revealed that 75 per cent of the 1487 AWAs sampled did not provide for a guaranteed wage increase.

These are the statistics the former Liberal government didn’t want to tell the Australian people about. These are the individual statutory agreements that the Liberal Party brought to Australian working families.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Father Park said...

Well done Jacob.

It was well known before the election just how poorly these figures would reflect on both the legislation and the businesses rolling then out. It is the reason Joe Hockey and the government refused to release them. All that time.

It was the reason - aside from polling figures indicating Howard and his government were looking at life in the sewer - that JWH suffered the epihany of a "fairness test" that was never, ever warranted.

The Australian public knew it without the figures being released. If the evidence had been otherwise the the Howard government would have run on it. As it was they neither had the courage of their convictions to release the figures and argue their case, nor to be honest with the electorate.

But, of course, to point any of this out prior to the election was to be "relentlessly partisan" and to criticise the failure to make public the information was to indulge in a "partisan frenzy".

It matters not, in the end, how many were covered by these agreements as this was the Howard government's preferred contract of employment. This is what it was busily encouraging business to roll out. Until, of course, the epiphany; an epiphany Hendy described as a "betrayal".

21/2/08 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

It kind of defies rational explanation how the Coalition thought they could sustain the subterfuge without a 'battler' backlash. Perhaps, rather than pull those OEA figures out of their hat, they were hoping instead to pull out those 'lowest employment figures in a generation' to demonstrate the wisdom of their policy.

Then the battlers would have had to choose between their own 'cushy' employment conditions and 'the greater good' - which in this instance happens to coincide with the interests of business groups, the Libs' core constituency.

Oh, the selfishness of those rational actors who choose to pursue their own interests at the expense of the greater social good - it goes against all core Liberal values.

21/2/08 9:44 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

Here's the thing: AWAs *work* for people in office jobs at the middle and upper levels, or in professional blue collar jobs (eg, the mining and construction industries, both of which have some serious money paid for many of the jobs). Such people don't get paid for nor receive ANY of those "protected award conditions", which is pretty much OK, sort of, since that's why you get paid the middling to big bucks.

The Howard gov't's idiocy was in trying to apply those very same standards to the average worker on very average and below average incomes, who already had little or no control over their jobs in the first place.

23/2/08 8:32 PM  

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