Welcome to a new segment here at Watching Society Fall. It’s called At the Chopping Block, and it will feature things we’re going to lose under the government at the time of the article being written. Right now the government is a Liberal Government under Tony Abbott, but in the future when it changes, At the Chopping Block will continue. I side with no particular party, just whoever is trying to do wrong by me at the time. So without further ado, let’s begin with the current attack on Penalty Rates.
I chanced upon this today while browsing the internet. Wow. I didn’t expect something like this, and while I did say that things would go to the proverbial, I meant in a time period that was a bit longer than fifteen days. Fifteen days and what are we facing? A campaign to lose our penalty rates. For those unable or unwilling to click on the link before, I’ll sum it up for you; retailers are pressing to have penalty rates cut or even completely removed, citing that they are ‘old fashioned’ and are ‘damaging profits’.
“Business groups tried to use Fair Work Australia to cut penalty rates earlier this year but were knocked back,
because they could produce no reliable evidence that they cost jobs.” – ACTU President Ged Kearney
Now we’re hearing about WorkChoices again. That little personalized contract people can be encouraged to sign that waives basic employee relations laws and EBA’s. Should their attack on penalty rates fail, WorkChoices could very well be their backup plan to cheapen the cost of Australian labour.
The ‘big’ retailers are pushing for this. Who is to say what’s ‘big’? Coles-Myer? Woolworths? In the video we see Gerry Harvey, the Executive Chairman of Harvey Norman, speaking in support of the penalty cuts, claiming that the Sunday rates are too high for what the staff are doing. Bernie Brookes, the Myer CEO is the same. In the video we see Dymocks and Myer as main supporters of cutting rates. Of course Dymocks is supporting it; the book retail industry is taking a beating from the likes of Amazon and online sales. Don’t forget how Angus & Robertson and Borders shut down. Dymocks narrowly missed out on following the same path. And while Myer is the store shown, Coles-Myer is a big group. Coles, K-mart, Liquorland, Officeworks.
So if you work weekends, public holidays, nights or early mornings, you might be in for some damage to the pay packet. Do you work non-standard hours because it suits you to do so, or do you work those hours because the pay is better? I, like many Australians, have to work un-sociable hours in order to receive more than mere subsistence. Spending up to twelve hours a day out the door but only getting paid for nine because I don’t get paid travel to work.
Retail workers don’t get paid very well as it is, but now their overtime rates are facing the axe? Some workers need penalty rates to survive. This goes far beyond working ‘unsociable hours’, which are already a big enough pain, but recent studies have shown that shift work increases your risk of obesity, heart conditions and stomach problems. Not to mention chronic fatigue leading to mental and emotional breakdowns, as well as damage to one’s family and social lives. It’s a rare person who can naturally work a night shift without causing severe health complications. More can be found at this link to the BetterHealth channel website, courtesy of the Victorian government.
Big retailers are pushing to cut your penalty rates. It will not end there. It will carry over to smaller retailers, then it’ll spread to other businesses. The people need to be made aware of this, because it is the Australian general public who will suffer for this. Teenagers, young adults, single parents, even parents in the middle class who need a second job to survive. We are all in this together, because we will all be affected. Those who won’t? People on six figure salaries in their ivory towers who are looking to find a way to reduce their expenditure and make a quick buck.
Raise awareness of this before it can be made a reality. We all need to stand up and support our shift-workers. Remember, none of us are as strong as all of us.
The news came in around 6pm tonight. Liberal victory, Tony Abbot as Prime Minister. Good job, idiots, this is why we can’t have nice things.
Nice things like marriage equality. Some of my closest friends must continue to be treated like second-class citizens. Things like the National Broadband Network. Labour ploy for votes? Maybe, but now we’ll not know. Australia has an internet infrastructure that is surpassed by third-world countries in South-East Asia. The Liberals plan is expensive and inadequate. This country is being, and will continue to be left behind in terms of science and technology, once fields we led the way in. Teachers and hospital staff, all facing the shaft. You know, only things you need. Education and medicine should never be on the chopping block.
In the United States, back in the 1920s, I believe, there was going to be an addition made to the constitution: If the United States would enter a war, the people would have to take a vote, country-wide. Anyone who voted “yes” would get drafted into the armed forces under this scheme. What a brilliant idea! What if people who voted, say, for some xenophobe who threatened the livelihoods of teachers and doctors, weren’t allowed to enter into the public health system, or public school system? A bit brutal. But fair, in the real sense of the word ‘fair’.
I’m not going to go on a spiel about how Australians are stupid and forgot that the global economy took a pummelling and that under a Labour government we actually did fairly well to avoid a recession, because the gods forbid that Australians have the obvious pointed out to them. No, things are bad and it’s the government’s fault. Obviously. And the people on boats! What about the Plane People? What about honest refugees whose lives were measured in days, their children sold into slavery? Are we that cruel to deny people aid? Sure, if they immigrate and act up, load them back onto a plane and get rid of them; at their expense.
But enough of that. I’m going to tell you what will happen. The Liberals will do as they will, and yeah, the common people will get the shaft while rich people get it easy. Public health and school systems will take a beating. But the boat people will… probably still be coming and very little done about it. There’ll be the occasional protest against more draconian policies, such as the resurgent Internet Filter. There’ll be petitions for a better broadband plan and there’ll be gay pride parades and protests and petitions about gay marriage equality. Sometimes.
But Australia will sit back and take the shaft because we’re a country filled with apathetic racists who tolerate whatever is done to them. I’ve known people to have to work on their wedding day. To not have any paid leave after their child is born. To work, day in, day out, thirteen out of fourteen days in a fortnight to be able to live comfortably. Let alone the people who work seven days a week just to get by. And Australians will put up with it. Because that’s how it is. We live in a culture that trains people in ignorance, to attack individuality and to lack initiative. Because why go out of your way and actually do a job that serves the community, and struggle to get by, when you can swing a hammer and dig holes for double the pay?
That’s the country we live in. And the Australian people will deal with it, on the whole. Some special interest groups will rally and do what they can, but they won’t get the support they desperately need, because of the average Australian, who is basically the worst part about this country. Strap in, lube up and enjoy the ride, folks. Things aren’t likely to get any better for any of us, and the only people we have to blame are ourselves for taking this shit.
So what can you do, oh Australian resident or citizen who doesn’t like what’s going on? You can get in touch with your local representatives. You can write to newspapers. You can join and support special interest groups and make this country a country worth living in! The type of socially progressive country our children deserve. But what will you do? Nothing. You’ll drink your beer, watch your television and whine about things that were completely within your power to prevent, but were blinded by ignorance and racism.
My response to this election? Mostly one of rage. Not to the politicians but to the people who voted for them. And when the country goes to shit, I’ll laugh, and say I told you so. But if they do well, I’ll laugh and apologize for doubting the Liberal government.
Having made casual reference to a new job in my last post, I was told that the job would make an interesting piece of subject matter for Someone Wicked, dealing with society on the front lines; suburban liquor store.
But I’ve gone a step further, and have created the BottleBlog, straight from my workplace to your screens. A personal view of a particular side of society with someone from particular views on it. Enjoy.
I’ll spare the lengthy introduction, the fancy wordplay and the extensive rant and put it to you simply; it is a very difficult task to find a job right now. There’s three particular groups of folk who employers want at the moment; kids who are under 18, experienced workers over 25, or foreigners who’ll work maximim hours for minimum wage.
I am none of the above. And that has made it virtually impossible for me to get a job where I don’t run the risk of losing my position to one of the above categories. I have more-or-less approaching the point where I am ready to buckle under and take a crap job with worse pay, if only because it’s my only alternative to joblessness.
A lot of places, specifically in the computing / IT industry, demand a minimum of three years’ experience. Experience that I can’t get because there’s no jobs available in the industry that don’t require that experience. And it’s horrendously aggravating to get a job, even at McDonalds, because I’m over 18 and thus actually have to be paid adult wages.
It’s not just affecting me. So many people out there are jobless, or being forced into terrible jobs that have no career options because of the latest trends. How are we supposed to gain experience without being given a chance? That’s all I want, and that’s all so many other people want; a chance.
Job-hunting is a painful endeavour at the best of times. I’m a certified computer repairer as well as trained in IT. Five years ago, advertising everywhere was saying that these were two avenues that would lead to long-lasting, highly paid careers. It’s gotten to the point where I put the donate button up on the website in the hope that it’ll provide additional funding for the continuance of SomeoneWicked as a registered domain as well as attending to my cost-of-living.
Australia, you keep preaching about giving people a fair go. Where’s our chance? Where’s the fair go for Australians who need work? It’s as I said. We’re not being given one. We have no chance, and without that chance, we have no future.