The Federal Government’s ‘fairness test’ has degenerated into a farce and is clearly not protecting young workers the ACTU said today.

“The Howard Government should immediately stop wasting taxpayers’ money and halt its misleading advertising campaign promoting the WorkChoices IR laws,” said ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

“The Government has admitted that it is using untrained, inexperienced temporary workers to administer what is an extremely complex ‘fairness test’ (see attached Policy Guide extract).

“Given the large number of workers who have been underpaid or ripped off under the WorkChoices IR laws, with fresh examples reported almost every day, no one can have any confidence in either the ‘fairness test’ or Workplace Authority’s advertisements.

“The use of temporary workers by the Workplace Authority strongly suggests that the Howard Government will ditch the so-called Fairness Test as soon as it is re-elected and WorkChoices will get even worse for young working Australians.

“It is shocking to see so many cases of young and vulnerable Australians being ripped off under the WorkChoices IR laws.
“Cases affecting young workers that have been revealed recently include:

  • An actor starring in the Government’s ads who also ran a painting business in Melbourne and ripped off young workers Erin Gebert and Phillip Graham thousands of dollars.
  • Twenty year old Brooke O’Mara who worked for a diving tour company in Cairns and was paid less than $3 an hour.
  • Nineteen year old Jessica Shepherd being pressured by major defence force contractor Serco Sodexho Defence Services to sign an AWA individual contract or lose her job.
  • An eighteen year old building worker who was paid only $10.40 per hour as a sub contractor and was supposedly responsible for his own tax, superannuation, personal and business insurance and personal and business expenses. 
  • Women workers employed by Molly Morgan Motor Inn in Maitland NSW who were underpaid.
  • A young Queensland apprentice who was underpaid by Gabrielli Constructions Pty Ltd.
  • Several young workers being ripped off by the Chillis restaurant outlets in NSW.
  • Vulnerable young trolley collectors in SA ripped off more than $250,000.
  • Allegations that Eagle Boys Pizza and Subway franchises in Darwin underpaid young employees.
  • “The Government’s WorkChoices ads with the tagline ‘Know where you stand’ are simply not believable,” said Ms Burrow.