Wednesday, July 05, 2017

ACTU – If there are jobs out there, young people should be getting jobs full pay

Workplace Express, 3 July 2017

The Turnbull Government says an alliance with the Australians Retailers Association will deliver up to 10,000 internships, in a major step for the Coalition’s interns program.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, who announced the ARA partnership with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today, says the Government is "implementing practical measures so that those looking for work have the experience and skills they need to secure a job."

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says the association is excited to be part of the Youth Jobs PaTH program.

"Our retailers are already major employers of young people and these PaTH internships will now provide another way that employers can give young people a fair go."

Under the program, announced in last year’s Federal Budget, the government will pay businesses $1000 when they take on people aged 17 to 24 for a work experience placement program.

The Government also provides "incentive payments" of $200 a fortnight to young people who participate in the internships, which must provide 30 to 50 hours of work experience a fortnight for four to 12 weeks.

However, ACTU President Ged Kearney is critical of the scheme, saying it comes on the heels of penalty rate cuts and allowed for young people to be paid $4 a hour in what amounts to "free labour" for retailers.

Kearney says the new deal with the ARA is "further evidence of the collusion between big business and the government."

  • "This program will do nothing for young people beyond churning them through short-term, dead-end placements."
  • "It will take away full wage-paying positions, denying Australians of decent work, and will entrench the current situation of soaring profits and stagnating wages."
  • "If there are jobs out there, young people should be getting jobs full pay, real training opportunities, negotiated wage subsidies, and all the protection of being a proper employee."

The ARA has confirmed that two of the retailers to be involved in the scheme are Baker's Delight and Battery World.

Unions have criticised the involvement of Baker's Delight in the scheme, saying they have already been subject to claims of underpayment and exploitation through WorkChoices-era agreements.

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