Workchoices: The Victorian experience: A statewide study conducted by JobWatch in conjunction with Victoria University and The University of Melbourne

Bertone, Santina , Zuhair, Segu , Babacan, Hurriyet, Marshall, Shelley , Fenwick, Colin , and Smiljanic , Vera (2007) Workchoices: The Victorian experience: A statewide study conducted by JobWatch in conjunction with Victoria University and The University of Melbourne. Report. JobWatch, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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Executive Summary

REDUCED JOB SECURITY A sense of loss of job security was the most striking effect of WorkChoices for both survey respondents and focus group participants. 62% of survey respondents agreed that they were most concerned about the prospect of being dismissed without warning; 53% of survey respondents disagreed that after WorkChoices they now have more job security. Whilst many focus group respondents blamed the WorkChoices legislation for making it easier for employers to dismiss them, others were not sure if WorkChoices was a factor.

INCREASED BASE PAY Of the survey respondents who stated that their base pay rates had changed (one third), three quarters said that their base pay had gone up. However, a majority of these respondents were covered by employment arrangements which were made before WorkChoices. In any case, it was not possible from the data supplied to ascertain the net effect on 'take home pay' after changes to penalty rates, etc.

RANGE OF WORKING HOURS INCREASED, MAKING IT HARDER TO BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY Thirty percent of those survey respondents who reported that their hours of work had changed, more than half reported that their hours had increased. In about half of these cases, the respondents were expected to be available to work for longer hours. More than half of survey respondents (56%) disagreed that they have more say over their working hours. Only 20% of respondents agreed that it is easier to balance work and family in the period since the introduction of WorkChoices. A number of focus group participants stressed that their main concern regarding hours of work was the lack of predictability and being expected to work longer hours with no extra pay; whereas others were happy with the flexibility in hours they had recently gained.

CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS REFLECT A WIDER SHIFT TOWARDS INDIVIDUALISED AGREEMENTS Changes in employment arrangements reported by over a quarter of survey respondents reflect broader shifts towards AWAs (Australian Workplace Agreements). Only 1.4% of respondents indicated that they had changed their employment arrangements because they 'chose it'. For most, the change was due to the employer's choice, pay increase, job change, or employment status change.

FEELING THAT WORK CULTURE IS DETERIORATING A number of survey and focus group findings paint a dim picture regarding relations within the workplace. 60% of survey respondents disagreed that in the period since the introduction of WorkChoices they now have more choices about their wages and conditions. Three fifths did not feel that they now had more freedom to negotiate with their employer. 45% disagreed with the proposition that they are less frightened to speak up and raise issues in the workplace, compared with 26% who agreed. These findings were confirmed by a number of focus group participants who said they felt that work culture is becoming more competitive and less supportive.

SATISFACTION WITH WORKCHOICES LOW Overall, 51% of the surveyed respondents reported being 'less satisfied' with the impact of changes on their current employment or employment prospects, while only 7% were satisfied.

Item ID: 18108
Item Type: Report (Report)
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Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2011 05:49
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160401 Economic Geography @ 50%
14 ECONOMICS > 1499 Other Economics > 149999 Economics not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9101 Macroeconomics > 910106 Income Distribution @ 30%
91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9102 Microeconomics > 910209 Preference, Behaviour and Welfare @ 70%
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