11.9 C
Byron Shire
August 1, 2021

Shafted workers

Latest News

Byron beach erosion

Ann Tiernan, Suffolk Park I strongly disagree with Council’s position stated in last week’s Echo that ‘The sand (at Clarkes Beach)...

Other News

Bumbling Berejiklian

Keith Duncan, Pimlico The chooks have certainly come home to roost for the corruption riddled NSW government and ‘our’ scandal plagued...


Andrew Macklin, Mullumbimby Creek Gareth Smith (July 14), I can see you like the selective use of historical facts and statistics...

US promises to return Assange to Australia a ‘trick’ says father

Lawyers for the US said Judge Baraitser ought to have sought assurances for Mr Assange’s safety in the US prison system during the extradition trial. 

Vehicle access to Unicorn Falls to close

President of the recently formed Byron Hikers Club says a ‘controversy is brewing’ around National Parks’ recently announced plans to close vehicle access to Unicorn Falls, located on South Chowan Road behind Upper Main Arm.

Cyclist dies in collision after refusing police request to stop – Casino

A cyclist has died following a collision with a vehicle after police asked him to stop.

With avocados, farmer fresh is best

There are many different avocado varieties, but walk around the supermarket and you might get the impression there is...

School cleaner, Name withheld

I’m a frontline worker, a contract cleaner providing an essential service for our state government.

We faced the bushfire threat from mid-October with the community engulfed in a smoke-haze of varying intensity. We worked indoors and outdoors, without air-conditioning through a very long hot summer, with no safety gear.

We also dealt with a flood in February that required all that extra effort to clean up. Just as autumn arrived, we entered into crisis mode with the COVID-19 virus.

Needless to say, we have all been subjected to very tough, stressful working conditions over the past six months, providing our frontline services during ‘unprecedented’ circumstances.

During the same period, management has been engaged in a fierce battle with the unions, trying to beat off efforts to improve wages and conditions for their essential workers. Part-time staff received a $2 an hour pay increase in October, when the negotiated contract expired, and reverted to the award system.

Management’s new deal increased our workload with no extra time or wages included. There was no consultation or negotiation, ‘suck it up’ was the message.

As an essential service, we’ve had no special directives or supplies from management to help protect staff.

Management hasn’t reassessed the workload or reorganised work schedules to minimise contact and staff onsite. No risk assessment of older staff has been undertaken.

Yet, we’re the lucky ones, we’ve managed to keep our jobs, and keep the cashflow from public funds rolling into management’s coffers. Whether we retain our health and our lives remains debatable.

Individual staff members are left to work out the best way to manage their job, and their personal safety. To management we are expendable, easily replaced, nothing more than a niggling cost on the bottom line. Every decision is about gaming the system, getting staff to do more for less, so management can maximise profits for ephemeral shareholders, and boost obscene performance payouts for executives and the board.

Crowds clapping, words of gratitude, and endless platitudes are worthless, meaningless, and insulting to those putting themselves in harm’s way, when we continue to live in a ruthless marketplace, a heartless economy, where profits remain far more important than people’s lives. 

Previous articleFast-track development
Next articleThe right approach?

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

A day of ‘thank you’

Alison Drover, Broken Head How about a day of ‘thank you’ to our health workers and ‘sorry’ from our prime minister and ‘please’ from the community? Instead...

Nolan’s Soapbox

Duncan Shipley-Smith, Byron Bay The sinister suggestion by Nolan in last week’s Echo conflating anti-vaccination supporters with extreme right-wing ideology (XRW) demands a response. This is...

Shooting in Nimbin

There is a police operation currently underway in Nimbin following a shooting earlier today.

Knife-wielding criminal on the loose in Byron Bay

A terrifying media release is still on the loose in Byron Bay after escaping from the computers of Council candidates Rhett Holt and Cr Alan Hunter.  'It is a frightful to wake up at three in the morning to a man blood dripping with a backpack full of knives using your shower,' the [sic] release said...