The ACTU has renewed its call for the Federal Government to stop employers from putting workers under the age of 20 onto individual contracts, following the results of a report released by SA Unions yesterday which showed young workers were being bullied, pressured and exploited, often being paid less than the Award.

The report, which took two years to compile and surveyed 800 young workers from South Australia, showed that:

– 36% of young workers were pressured to work overtime without pay

– 43% were pressured to work while sick

– 42% were forced to work through meal breaks

– 22% were fired for reasons they felt unfair and 17% were fired or lost shifts after a birthday

– 25% were bullied at work

Secretary of the ACTU, Greg Combet said that the report showed the level of exploitation of young workers.

This report is further evidence that individual contracts are being used to exploit Australian workers, especially young people.

This will become much worse under the Federal Governments proposed system where more workers will be pushed into a situation where they have to negotiate with their employer alone.

Young Australian workers in particular need to be protected, Mr. Combet said.

Mr. Combet called on the Federal Government to ban the use of individual contracts for workers under 20.

We want an immediate public audit of all existing individual contracts approved by the Office of Employment Advocate, Mr. Combet said.

We know that the Federal Governments Office of Employment Advocate have already approved individual contracts that have been used to take advantage of young workers, Mr. Combet said.

Recently US doughnut chain Krispy Kreme was caught out, bullying their young workers to sign AWAs, which removed their right to penalty rates, overtime and allowances and cut their take-home pay. Most of these workers were aged between 15 and 18 years old.

The contracts, which had been approved by the Federal Governmens Office of the Employment Advocate, meant that one young worker had to work for 16 1/2 hours straight without any penalty payments or overtime loading being paid.

A South Australian Court also found that young workers, as young as 15 years old, from Bakers Delight, had been pushed onto a Federal Government approved individual contract that abolished annual leave and sick leave and cut their pay by 25%.

The Federal Government needs to rethink the use of individual contracts for young workers under the age of 20 and start taking steps to protect Australias young workers, said Mr Combet.

More information:

Dirt Cheap and Disposable – New Report Reveals Rampant Exploitation Of Young South Australians