I've been reading lots of anecdotes from people on both sides of the IR debate, but I prefer to rely on actual research to give me a broad picture of what Work Choices means for Oz.
This report was released last month, but I've not yet seen it discussed in here, so thought I'd throw it into the mix.
Key findings of the report:"Low skilled employees on AWAs are earning some of the lowest wages, working the longest hours, and are more likely to want fewer hours of work."
Australians' working lives
- Employees are feeling workload pressures: more than half (52%) say that more and more is expected of them for the same amount of pay.
- More than half (52%) of Australian workers say they are finding it difficult to get by, or just coping, on their current household income.
- In general, high skilled employees* earn most on common law contracts.
- In general, low skilled workers** earn most when covered by collective agreements.
- Employees on AWAs, for the most part, earn less than those on common law contracts and collective agreements, but they are working longer hours.
AWAs and the new agreement-making
- Employees whose pay and conditions are set by awards and collective bargaining work the shortest full-time hours.
- Since WorkChoices there has been a 2.3% decline in employees reliant on awards, and a similar degree (1.7%) of growth in those covered by AWAs.
- Employees who changed jobs in the year after WorkChoices were almost twice as likely to be covered an AWA than those who stayed in the same job
- The total number of employees on AWAs grew by 33% in the year after WorkChoices.
- Those on the new AWAs are more likely to be young workers (36% aged 16- to 24-years) and in low skilled jobs (56%), and say they do not have the opportunity to negotiate their pay with their employer (56%).
The study also finds:
- 46% of all workers on AWAs say they do not have the opportunity to negotiate pay with their employer.
- As in the past, the largest group (40%) of employees still rely on awards.
- The bulk of individual bargaining is still occurring through individual common law contracts (almost one in five employees are covered by these contracts).
- Around one in twenty (5.6%) employees are on AWAs. This equates to 450,000 employees.