WATSON OUT OF TOUCH ON WAGES


Australian Financial Review, 29 March 2017
Low wages and poor conditions are a festering wound on our society. They have implications not just for the individual forced onto them but for their family, their local community and the wider economy.

Former Fair Work Commission vice-president Graeme Watson, pictured, is out of step in calling for lower wages (AFR, March 28). Governments around the world, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have recognised the destructive influence of low wage growth and are seeking ways to remedy it.

Mr Watson approved an enterprise agreement for airport ground-handling company Aerocare after the Transport Workers Union and the Australian Services Union opposed it. This agreement allows for workers to be guaranteed just 60 hours a month, with no weekly guarantee, and with cuts to award rates for overtime, night-time work, weekends and public holidays. It is the only aviation ground-handling agreement which allows for split shifts.

This agreement has impoverished those working under it degrading them to the point of forcing them to sleep rough at the airports between shins. But again Mr Watson is out of step.

Australians do not want workers to be forced onto these conditions. They believe in a fair, equitable society that benefits everyone,

Tony Sheldon, Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary, Sussex Street, NSW

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