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Category Archives: job fear

21 Apr, 2012 04:00 AM
Maitland Mercury
 
After spending almost a year visiting Australia’s coal mining communities Sharyn Munro discovered a warzone. She observed what’s really happening at the coalface: towns and districts dying, people hurting, rebelling and ultimately paying the price for the nation’s mining boom.Munro listened to stories of homeowners being forced out of townships, broken in spirit and in health, or else under threat – their lives in limbo as they battle the might of huge mining companies.

This is what she found.

Sharyn Munro is not anti-mining. She is a writer and grandmother with a social conscience wanting to inform the ordinary Australian of what is happening in rural areas.

And she opposes inappropriate development of any sort, driven by the impact of mining she has watched overwhelm parts of the Hunter Valley.

In her latest book Rich Land, Wasteland, Munro presents an impassioned account of the human price individuals and communities are paying for the coal rush.

“I wrote this book to share with Australians what I experienced and learnt,” Munro said. “Most Australians, I believe, are decent people who would be appalled by what is going on if they knew.”

During her research for the book, Munro discovered that incidences of asthma, cancers and heart attacks show alarming spikes in communities close to coal mines and coal power stations.

Once reliable rivers and aquifers are drying up or becoming polluted. Once fertile agricultural land is becoming

unusable and what was once a rich land is becoming a wasteland.

“I am motivated by concern for the health and futures of my grandchildren who have been living in the coalafflicted

Hunter, and for everyone else’s grandchildren who must breathe such polluted air and who face devastated and dewatered landscapes that will be unusable.”

The large, mostly foreign-owned, mining and gas companies continue to push into new areas and Munro observes that our governments continue to help and protect them at the expense of rural communities.

 http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/news/local/news/general/coal-hard-facts/2529197.aspx

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 Michelle Grattan

April 20, 2012

 THE government has seized on shadow treasurer Joe Hockey’s provocative attack on ”entitlements” to claim a Coalition government would make widespread cutbacks that would hit families.

In a major speech in London, Mr Hockey condemned systems of ”universal entitlement” in Western democracies, contrasting this with the concept of ”filial piety” thriving across Asia, where people get what they work for and families look after their own. Although Mr Hockey was more qualified about the Australian situation, when pressed later about whether the Coalition would look at the whole range of entitlements, he said: ”Yes.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Australian families should be deeply concerned about Mr Hockey’s remarks.

She said he was talking about cuts ”to things like family payments to help people with the costs of raising the kids, things like pensions that older Australians rely on, all of the benefits and services that help families along, like relief on childcare fees, let alone of course the great benefits of things like Medicare and free public hospitals”.

The message of Mr Hockey and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to families was ”you’re in for cutbacks and if you can’t cope, well, just try fending for yourself and if you can’t fend for yourself well, unfortunately that’s too bad”, she said.

But Mr Abbott said Mr Hockey was making the obvious point that governments had to live within their means. Australia’s situation had not got to the level of some other countries but ”there is a danger that we ourselves could ultimately go down an unsustainable path … it’s the job of the Coalition to ensure that we never do”. Greens leader Christine Milne said the logical conclusion of what Mr Hockey was saying ”is no universal healthcare, no universal access to public education”.

Ann Nevile of the Crawford school of public policy at the Australian National University said it was unlikely that the policies of Asian countries could be successfully transplanted to Australia because those countries’ social conditions were different to Australia’s.

 Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/hockey-attack-on-benefits-blasted-20120419-1xa39.html#ixzz1sYtiIbBP

We are witnessing the emergence of a new working poor

Brian Howe April 20, 2012

The divide between blue and white-collar workers has become much uglier.

THERE is a new divide in the Australian workforce. It is no longer between the blue-collar and white-collar worker, but between those in the “core” of the workforce and those on the “periphery”. Those in the core are likely to be in full-time employment, either permanently within organisations, in management positions, or possessing skills for which there is steady demand and for which they can charge a premium. They are likely to have sick leave, paid holidays and in many cases parental leave above the government’s minimum standard. For them, flexibility means the chance to work in a variety of industries, to work overseas, to earn good money freelancing or in a secure part-time arrangement. Periods of unemployment are likely to be short or voluntary.

Those on the periphery are employed on various insecure arrangements – casual, contract or through labour hire companies, on low wages and with no benefits. Many do not know what hours they will work from week to week, and often juggle multiple jobs to attempt to earn what they need. Their skills are low, or outdated, and they are not offered training through work. They shift between periods of unemployment and underemployment that destroy their ability to save money. Their work is not a “career”; it is a series of unrelated temporary positions that they need to pay rent, bills and food.

For them, flexibility is not knowing when and where they will work, facing the risk of being laid off with no warning, and being required to fit family responsibilities around unpredictable periods of work. For many, life on the periphery is not a temporary situation; there is no pathway into the core. For the past six months I have been the chair of an inquiry, commissioned by the ACTU, into the phenomenon of insecure work. In hundreds of submissions, and during hearings around the country, we have come across a multitude of stories from people on the periphery.

Although 40 per cent of Australian workers are in insecure work, this is a development of the Australian economy that has avoided proper examination for too long. For people in their late 20s, with children and mortgages and no time to retrain; or older men in their 50s who have lost full-time work, this is their permanent position. Increasing numbers of workers are engaged in unpredictable, uncertain work that undermines their security.

Others fear that the loss of a good secure job will push them into the world of insecure work they see around them. This uncertainty makes people more sensitive to rises in interest rates, power bills and petrol prices. For the first time in our history since Federation, Australia is seeing the development of a working poor. As long as we can retain our relatively high minimum wages and public health system, we will not see the extremes of poverty of the United States, but we will see a society with families where one or both parents work, but who are unable to save or own a home, and remain vulnerable to the slightest financial crisis.

What this means for social mobility and social cohesion is the great unknown, and a subject that is only obliquely referred to in political debate. This is particularly the case when combined with a growing number of inter-generational jobless households. The economic changes of the past two decades cannot be unwound. But the unforeseen consequences of insecure work must be addressed to continue to produce jobs that will preserve the Australian social contract that has provided a decent welfare safety net, and a chance at social mobility, for generations of citizens and migrants.

Changes are needed not only to our employment and labour laws, but to the role of government and the social security and tax transfer systems, to education, training and labour market transitions and, yes, to our trade unions. We are witnessing the emergence of a new working poor

Brian Howe April 20, 2012

Brian Howe is a former deputy prime minister of Australia.

 This is an edited extract of a speech he gave to the National Press Club on Wednesday.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/we-are-witnessing-the-emergence-of-a-new-working-poor-20120419-1x9z2.html#ixzz1sYkesXq6

Josh Gordon and Michelle Grattan
May 23, 2009

The Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme could trigger an investment surge worth more than $6 billion a year, according to secret economic modelling revealed as Parliament gears up to determine the fate of controversial climate change laws.

An internal report by the National Australia Bank obtained by The Sunday Age suggests the emissions trading debate has focused on short-term costs and ignored new investment opportunities.

“The average year-on-year investment created by the (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) could be up to 60 per cent greater than that committed for infrastructure in this year’s budget,” the report says.

It says there has been “little consideration of the investment stimulus” that would be created as the economy becomes less greenhouse intensive.

The report comes as a national poll conducted on behalf of the Climate Institute has found more than three out of four Australians believe the Liberal Party should support the Government’s emissions trading scheme legislation.

The sharply divided Coalition will go the party room within the next week to consider the legislation before the House of Representatives debates it next week. The legislation will go to the Senate next month.

The Coalition, which is considering a bipartisan position on targets for the world climate conference in Copenhagen in December, wants the legislation delayed until after that conference.

But an Auspoll survey of 1120 people has found 77 per cent believe the Liberals should back the legislation now. Only 23 per cent think they should oppose it.

The online poll taken from May 15 to 19 found women were more likely than men to say the Liberals should support it (83-71 per cent), and younger people more likely than those older (82 per cent of 18-29 year olds compared with 71 per cent of those 50 and over).

Greens sources said yesterday that while they were opposed to the legislation they were “not inclined” to vote for delay. So the Opposition would probably need the votes of Family First senator Steve Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon if it wanted to defer the legislation until after the December conference.

But Senator Xenophon told The Sunday Age yesterday: “My strong inclination is that we need to deal with this legislation, in terms of the architecture and design of the scheme, before Copenhagen.”

Certainly the NAB report will give the Government added traction to argue for the legislation to be passed. The modelling work traces the impact of the three possible emissions reduction targets announced by Government. It assumes that the price of emissions will rise from $20 a tonne of carbon dioxide to $100 a tonne as the Government cuts the number of permits. It also assumes that 30 per cent of Australia’s investment efforts to cut emissions will leak to foreign countries.

Under the least onerous scenario — a cut of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 — investment would soar by $5.8 billion a year by 2020 and by $10.8 billion by 2050, or an average of $6.2 billion a year.

A 25 per cent cut will become Government policy if there is a strong agreement at Copenhagen.

The Age
http://www.watoday.com.au/national/carbon-scheme-may-generate-6bn-a-year-20090524-bj6j.html?page=-1

Jacob Saulwick
May 15, 2009

JOBLESSNESS in the inner city is already approaching 10 per cent, while working hours are also falling as recession eats into working conditions.

Detailed labour force figures released yesterday by the Bureau of Statistics show the uneven spread of job losses throughout Sydney and NSW.

In the inner city, for example, the number of unemployed has more than doubled since the end of last year – from 15,800 in December to 31,900 in April.

The figures are sketchy – the bureau urges caution because of small sample sizes – but trends are emerging in the geographic sweep of joblessness.

The unemployment rate in inner Sydney and in the inner west increased every month from the end of last year, from 4.6 per cent in December to 9 per cent in April. For men in the area, unemployment has hit 12 per cent, while the female rate is about 6 per cent. For most of last year unemployment in the region was closer to 4 per cent.

Sydney, with the nation’s highest concentration of finance sector workers, has been an early victim of the downturn. But while finance companies have been steadily laying off staff for the best part of a year, it is only in recent months that rising unemployment has started to emerge in official figures.

Outer suburbs – Fairfield, Bankstown, north-west Sydney – have had higher unemployment in the past couple of years. But they have not had the same level of increase since the financial crisis escalated last September.

Yesterday’s report provides more detail than the Bureau’s release last week, which showed the national unemployment rate dropping from 5.7 per cent to 5.4 per cent, and NSW unemployment falling from 6.8 per cent to 6 per cent.

The report also showed employees have started to work shorter hours, typically a precursor to rising joblessness. For the first time since figures were collected eight years ago, the average male working week dropped below 41 hours. For females, it dropped less sharply, to 31 hours.

The report comes as a range of indicators point to improvements in economic confidence.

A consumer confidence index compiled by Roy Morgan rose more than seven points last month to 104.5, and is now seven points higher than a year ago.

Some 38 per cent of Australians – 5 per cent more than the previous month – expected their family to be “better off financially” by the same time next year. Only 17 per cent – a fall of 5 per cent – expected to be worse off, the survey, conducted before the budget, showed.

A separate report from the Bureau of Statistics highlighted emerging strength in the first-home market, with housing finance increasing 7.3 per cent in March. And loans to build new homes have increased by more than 40 per cent in the past seven months, spurred on by the $21,000 government grant.

The success of the first-home owner’s grant has raised hopes Australia will avoid the precipitous falls in home prices that have hit the US and Britain.

But a Royal Bank of Scotland economist, Kieran Davies, warned that lower interest rates and limited new housing supply might not support house prices in the coming year.

“House price dynamics can develop a life of their own … Prices may fall further independently of what happens to unemployment,” he said.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/jobless-rate-doubles-in-innercity-sydney-20090514-b4ti.html?page=-1

May 11, 2009 – 6:50AM

A French textile firm has caused outrage by telling nine of its workers that they have the choice between the sack and redeploying to an Indian factory and taking a gigantic pay-cut.

Carreman told its workers at a plant in the southwestern town of Castres that it would offer them pay of 69 euros ($122.37) a month if they moved to Bangalore, union officials said at the weekend.

The minimum legal monthly salary in France is 1321 euros ($2342.82).

Francois Morel, the boss of the factory, told a local paper that before being allowed to lay off the workers he was obliged to offer them work elsewhere in the group under legal requirements which he described as “stupid”.

CGT union official Edmond Andreu told AFP that the offer had provoked “anger mixed with stupefaction” among workers at the factory, who say it is obvious no-one will take up the proposition.

Workers at the Bangalore factory are paid the equivalent of 69 euros a month for working a six-day week, and get an annual bonus of a month’s pay as well as medical insurance.

The nine Castres workers were also offered free plane tickets and a 1000-euro bonus for moving.

The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
You are here: HigherEducation > Publications > The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
“The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey: Graduates’ education and employment outcomes five years after completion of a bachelor degree at an Australian university“ reports the findings of the 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey. It contains information on the outcomes and pathways of bachelor graduates five years after graduation.

Abstract
The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was designed to gain information on employment outcomes five years after completing a bachelor degree, how these changed from graduates’ initial outcomes, the pathways taken and the factors that influence outcomes. 9,238 graduates from all Table A higher education providers (with one exception) as well as Bond University and the University of Notre Dame participated in the survey. The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was the first national study of its kind in Australia.

The Key findings were that:

Graduates can take a few years to establish their careers: the rate of participation in paid work among graduates rose from 84% to 91% between the first and fifth year following graduation;
At the national level, the median graduate salary rose from $38,000 to $60,000 in the first five years post-graduation – a 58% increase;
Graduate outcomes and pathways varied for different fields of education, with some graduates taking longer to settle into their careers; and
Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds achieved outcomes on par with the general graduate population.

http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Publications/Pages/The2008GraduatePathwaysSurvey.aspx

LSAY 55: Varying pay-offs to post school education and training
Posted on 20 January 2009 at 09:16AM

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release Tuesday 20 January 2009

Varying pay-offs to post school education and training

Social background plays only a small role in accounting for differences in occupational status and earnings at age 24, indicating that education is enhancing social mobility, a recent Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) study found.

The study, released today, found that, in general, post-school education and training leads to higher status occupations and higher earnings, compared to not doing any further study or training.

However, not all forms of post-secondary education and training are equally beneficial. In terms of earnings, a bachelor degree had the largest impact, increasing earnings by about 31 per cent on average. Apprenticeships increased earnings by about 23 per cent, a TAFE diploma increased earnings by about 14 per cent, and a university diploma by about 17 per cent. Completing a traineeship increased earnings by about 8 per cent and a TAFE certificate by about 5 per cent.

Generally, young women had slightly higher levels of occupational status than did young men, but even during their early career weekly earnings were about 20 per cent less. Possible reasons for this include the higher proportions of young women in part-time work and gender differences in the types of jobs.

ACER chief executive, Professor Geoff Masters, said “Although the overall results are positive for education and training, some TAFE certificates are not delivering sustained increases in earnings. This is in part due to the types of jobs some vocational education is directed towards.”

“However, it may be that young people who had experienced difficulties in the labour market are pursuing TAFE certificate courses or that they are not always choosing appropriate courses.”

The young people were first surveyed in 1995 when they were in Year 9. More than 4200 remained in the study when they were last surveyed in 2005 at about 24 years old. By then, 77 per cent of the cohort was in full-time work. In all years, the incidence of full-time work was substantially higher among young men than among young women.

Further information and additional findings are available in the report, The Occupations and Earnings of Young Australians: The Role of Education and Training by Gary N. Marks. The study is research report number 55 in the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY), a program funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) with support from state and territory governments.

Download full report from: http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/LSAY55.pdf

http://www.acer.edu.au/1/index.php/news-item/lsay55

GREG KELTON, STATE EDITOR
April 28, 2009 09:30pm

HUGE job losses in health, the closure of some TAFE sites and increased class sizes are looming because of the state’s critical financial position.

Senior public service sources say up to 400 jobs are set to go as part of a major savings review in the Health Department – and that does not include country areas.

Sources also say up to 127 full-time equivalent jobs will go in Further Education while up to 30 will go in the Courts Administration Authority.

Warnings of the cuts are contained in two internal memos seen by The Advertiser and evidence given to a parliamentary committee.

Health Department chief executive Tony Sherbon has written to staff saying Ernst & Young has been commissioned to undertake a core business review of the department which will take four weeks.

He says while frontline health services will be protected, the intention is to reduce the size of the overall workforce but with “no forced redundancies”.

No numbers are given but senior public sector sources said they had been briefed about 400 full-time equivalent positions likely to go.

The state is facing a huge $1.5 billion black hole in the Budget and Treasurer Kevin Foley has warned the axe will fall on the Government’s expenditure.

The Courts Administration Authority says it has a range of savings planned which will affect “a significant number of employees”.

These include merging some services in the Fines Call Centre, specialists courts such as the Drug Court and also reducing staff in the Coroner’s Court.

Registry offices in Kadina, Coober Pedy, Ceduna and Naracoorte will be open only when the local court is sitting.

Further Education Department chief executive Ray Garrand has told Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee that 95 jobs will go in 2009-10, and 16 each in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He says that equates to savings of about $9.7 million.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25395862-2682,00.html

Chris Zappone
April 28, 2009 – 9:26AM

Jobs at Holden’s Elizabeth factory are safe for now after parent company General Motors said overnight it would scrap the Pontiac brand as it staves off bankruptcy.

Holden said GM’s decision had “direct implications” for the Australian carmaker, which produced 36,500 Pontiacs for export in 2008, out of a total of 119,000 cars built.

The local company said it was “disappointed” with the decision, however, “we don’t envisage there will be any job losses at Elizabeth as a result of this decision.”

Earlier this month, Holden switched from two shifts to one in order to lower its production level to meet the reduced global demand.

Sources close to the company said paring back its shifts when the global demand fell at the end of last year helped Holden avoid announcing more lay-offs from GM’s decision overnight.

However, a slump in demand in world markets may ultimately cost it more jobs in Australia.

”Job cuts are inevitable if you look at global sales figures,” said ANZ economist Julie Toth.

Global car sales have dropped by double digits since the acceleration of the global financial crisis last year. Also, consumers in developed markets such as the US and Australia have shifted demand toward smaller, more economical vehicles, a segment where GM and Holden are historically underrepresented.

”It’s not just about changing models now, it’s that people have just stopped buying cars,” Ms Toth.

Locally, the total number of new cars, four-wheel-drives and trucks sold in Australia in the year to March plummeted 22.6%, seasonally adjusted, according the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the biggest fall since 1991.

czappone@fairfax.com.au
http://business.smh.com.au/business/holden-jobs-safe–for-now-20090428-akzx.html