Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sign an AWA, earn 16% less!

A new Government report released today shows that typical Australians on AWA individual contracts earn 16% less than their counterparts on collective agreements.

The President for the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sharan Burrow, said the new study was proof that the Howard Government’s AWAs were being used to drive down workers’ wages and conditions and to sideline the role of unions in helping workers bargain collectively.

The study found a major pay gap between workers on AWA individual contracts and those on collective agreements.

Australia-wide, people employed on AWA individual contracts were paid a median of $20.50 an hour — $4 an hour less than workers on median Collective Agreement earnings.

The AWA pay gap is worse for women than it is for men, with female median AWA earnings almost 19% lower than that for women on collective agreements.

The study also cited a survey of AWAs registered under the WorkChoices IR laws last year that found most AWAs abolished or reduced so-called ‘protected’ award conditions:

• Around 90% of AWAs abolished or reduced penalty rates;
• 88% of AWAs abolished or ‘modified’ overtime rates;
• 89% abolished or ‘modified’ shiftwork loadings;
• 82% abolished or ‘modified’ public holiday pay;
• 83% abolished or ‘modified’ rest breaks.

The study found that AWAs paid on average well below Collective Agreements in the manufacturing industry, construction, transport and storage, health and community services, property and business services and the ‘personal and other services’ industries.

It found that where the wages gap between AWAs and Collective Agreements was narrow, this was in pockets where AWA individual contracts were being used by employers to avoid negotiation with unions.


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