Jo Faith, Newtown
The latest employment figures show that the Byron Shire is the second lowest wage earner in the state. Last week’s Echo discussed the proposal to create more industrial development in the expectation that this will stimulate greater employment. This will be a developers’ junket if ethical wage/work practices are not implemented. If ethical practices are implemented that would be a good thing for the health of Byron Shire.
There is a practice in Byron to encourage casual work. This can be of great benefit to employers who can be aided by employment agencies for up to $10,000 for a three-month employment contract. This is supposed to be an incentive from the taxpayer to assist the employee into full-time work.
Unfortunately the employer is incentivised by the tax gift, which supplements wages – but the turnover of staff as the three months concludes is alarming. Employees find their hours begin to diminish, as new staff on the same supported contracts are employed.
Who gains? Well the employer of course. Who loses? The sacked employee and the taxpayer.
One manager operating this scheme boasted to employers, ‘Don’t dare to criticise me, I am saving you heaps of money that you would have to pay to supplement wages.’ Thus we can understand the growing alienation of youth who are driven from the town by the lack of ethical industrial practices.
I have also met an employee on a casual contract, who was then was fully employed. His health declined with a terminal disease and the employer supported him during this bad phase in his life. I spoke to this employer who was well aware of the bad practices that I write of and was ‘disgusted’.
How many good workers are exploited and lose the incentive to seek worthwhile employment? The pressures are created by the bad social structures that we are prepared to tolerate. It does not have to be this way as there exist ethical laws upholding work practices and these should be addressed. Write to your local MP if you have been a victim of these practices.