One thought on “Book Launch: After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet

  1. ” Makes me want to salute the Boss, kiss the Flag and send a cheque to my local MP.” ….or NOT!

    The 50 Hour Week

    Sydney University study shows Australia has some of the worst working hours in the developed world, with one in five workers putting in at least 50 hours a week.
    Despite that, growing numbers are finding it difficult to make ends meet, with one in three workers in a job that does not give them the full protection of Australia’s labour laws.
    The study tracked the working lives of 8,000 workers over five years. It found 56 per cent were struggling to get by or just coping, up four points from last year. The interviews were done before the financial turmoil kicked in.
    Lead researcher Dr Brigid Van Wanrooy says long hours remain a stubborn feature of Australian working life, and look like continuing to do so amid the economic slowdown.
    “Full-time employees are working an average of 44 hours per week, in the international standards we’ve got some of the longest full-time working ours among the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries,” she said.
    Many Australians worked even longer. Nearly one in three wanted to reduce their hours.
    “One in five workers work more than 50 hours a week, so that equates to around two million people.” she said.
    The report said standard employment deteriorated, many workers were worried about job insecurity and the much talked about work/family balance was far from a reality.

    Burning the candle at both ends

    It all mirrors the life of Katrina, a single parent of three, living on the outskirts of Brisbane. She works 51 hours a week.
    Guaranteed only five hours a week as a permanent part-time teacher’s aide, she has a second job as a casual child care worker and struggles to make ends meet.
    “Because they’re both low-paying jobs unfortunately, we’re struggling a little, some things that we used to buy regularly from the grocery store are actually now classified in our house as luxuries and we only have them occasionally,” she said.
    “Cheese, and a bit of meat sometimes,” she added, “We just usually eat the cheaper meat rather than the nice steak.”
    Industrial relations is a key concern for Katrina.
    “The last election I voted Labor into Government because I really thought that the Labor Government would make my life a lot easier, I thought they were really going to look after the working families, but I’m still holding on, holding hope that it will happen,” she said.
    She longs for one decent-paying, stable job.
    “To have one steady job that offered me a decent amount of money that I could pay the bills. One job would be perfect,” she said.
    “And my message to Kevin Rudd would be we’re still waiting, I’m still waiting, waiting for that to happen.”

    ‘Constructive debate’

    This time last year the Coalition government was about to face an election.
    It blasted the first report’s finding that low-skilled workers on Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) earned significantly less than those on collective agreements, accusing the academics, including the head of the University’s Workplace Research Centre Dr John Buchanan, of bias.
    “Everyone looks on last year as a fairly exceptional time and I think we’re all looking forward to more constructive ways of debating these issues in the future,” Dr Buchanan said.
    Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard welcomes the study, saying Labor’s new Forward with Fairness legislation will allow Australia to become more competitive and prosperous without taking away rights and guaranteed minimum standards.
    Her opposite number, Michael Keenan, says the debate has moved on from WorkChoices.
    “I think the most important thing is that this research has been done prior to the global financial crisis, and I think the contemporary debate in Australia needs to be about how we go about protecting people’s jobs,” he said.
    “Unions New South Wales, which partly funded the research, wants changes to the Government’s proposed laws, arguing the global economic crisis demands a stronger focus on job security and worker entitlements or working families will suffer.

    Based on an AM report by Alexandra Kirk.


    Satirical COMMENT

    Geez those impossible 4 hour day (IWW) Wobblies are so out of date –

    Big Thanks to the ‘not militant’, ‘responsible’, f’air’ etc Bizness Unions ….Australian “working families” have progressed ever so much – thanks also of course to the caring employers and the best politicians money can buy.

    Makes me want to salute the Boss, kiss the Flag and send a cheque to my local MP.

    Mr Block

    PS I surely would like to be in America where the happy working families only need 2 weeks annual leave together.
    They’re not spoiled like here where we get 4 weeks or more.
    “Industrial efficiency” will hopefully also bring us further progress and less time away from work in these belt-tightening economic uncertainty times.
    I have read that in China the kind employers let their workers sleep at work like those nice South African ones used to.?

    A prayer before you sleep fellow workers:

    Praise Boss when morning work bells chime,
    Praise Boss for bits of overtime,
    Praise Boss whose wars we love to fight,
    Praise Boss fat leech and parasite!

    Ah Boss !

    Good luck with the book launch at Zapatas.
    keep up the good work – and PLAY !

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