The Guardian 27 July, 2005

No AWA, no dole

The Howard government will cut the dole to workers who refuse to sign the Howard government’s AWA non-union individual work contracts that undercut award wages and conditions says a Centrelink insider. A Centrelink staffer has told Labornet’s Workers Online, on condition of anonymity, that job seekers who say no to such AWAs will be "breached" — leading to cuts in their social security payments.

The federal government is pushing the secret individual agreements in preference to collective agreements.

It has already legislated to allow employers to force new workers to sign AWAs, as a condition of employment, and has announced its intention to scrub the No Disadvantage Test that measures them against existing awards.

Even under that system its Office of the Employment Advocate had rubber-stamped individual contracts that undercut, or eliminated, conditions included in legally-­registered agreements.

Under Andrews’ proposed new system, AWAs will be legitimate if they meet five minimum standards which do not include penalty rates or overtime, and allow annual holidays to be slashed to two weeks or possibly totally removed.

Simultaneously, Canberra has announced its intention to get tough on beneficiaries by cutting entitlements to those who do not accept paid employment.

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