Compelling evidence has emerged of how quickly bosses in retail and hospitality took advantage of WorkChoices to strip pay and conditions from their employees in Australia.
A landmark study has examined every new collective agreement in those two industries in the first nine months of the law last year and found most removed penalty rates and overtime, increased managerial power and gave inadequate compensation.
The study, commissioned by the Victorian, NSW and Queensland governments, and conducted by Sydney University's Workplace Research Centre, also uncovered a new industry of consultants and lawyers producing minimalist template agreements for small businesses.
Half of all agreements followed a template, and consultant Enterprise Initiatives produced a quarter of all 339 agreements studied, mocking the Government's claim that its law was about increasing employer-employee negotiation, and eliminating the third parties.
The study shows Saturday penalty rates were abolished in 76 per cent of WorkChoices collective agreements, Sunday penalties in 71 per cent, overtime rates in 68 per cent, public holiday rates in 60 per cent, and paid breaks in 55 per cent.
All these conditions were stamped "protected by law" in government advertising in 2005.
The study has, for the first time, calculated the real-world pay rates for workers in retail and hospitality who are moved from award rates to new non-union collective agreements, by modelling how standard rosters in these industry interacted with the new pay rates. They found most people were worse off, with part-time, casual and weekend workers hardest hit.
A casual worker in a liquor store doing 12 hours on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday could lose up to 38 per cent of pay, or $114.27 a week. A permanent full-timer working some weekends and overtime could lose up to $145 a week, or 20 per cent of salary.
From the Age
No big surprises, but rather very predictable and sad. Exploiting the most vulnerable. I loved the bit about "protected by law". So what is the story Smiling Joe Hockey?