What’s a bit more youth unemployment?

The Fair Work Commission is up to its old tricks.  Using dodgy and inappropriate evidentiary techniques, it has decided to award adult rates of pay to 20 year olds under the Retail Industry Award, as long as they have had six months’ service with the employer.

If you bother to read the decision, you will just weep.  The union finds a small number of young people and they tell the left-leaning panel about how they are really, really productive and as productive as 21 year olds.  It turns out they have been employed under agreements, rather than the award, but what the heck.

Rather than take the high road and argue on principle (there is nothing to stop employers paying more, but junior rates in the awards protect the most vulnerable workers), they serve up a number of employers who don’t really know what it is all about and talk about removing junior rates of pay for younger employees (which is the aim of the union, by the way).

The pompous language used in the decision is just appalling.  These three amigos would not have a clue.  And here’s the thing.  They think that the decision has to be phased in, which is completely inconsistent with the view that their decision would not affect employers or the job prospects of workers.

And then there is this amazing instruction to the union: you draft the changes to the award.  What?  Surely, these members of the FWC are paid enough to do the drafting themselves and what is the propriety of subcontracting the drafting of the changes to the award to the trade union?

The only person who has made any sense in the context of a number of newspaper stories about rapidly rising youth unemployment, including in The Age, is Tony Nicholson, executive director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, who declared that the decision of the FWC was “not helpful”. (He wants a youth wages scheme.)

He went on to say: “Essentially what the data shows us is we in Australia are hurtling toward a social disaster and if nothing changes, if we do nothing, we’re going to have unemployment as high as 40 per cent in some parts of the country”.

Here’s the story:

Unions will push to increase the wages of young workers in a range of industries after a landmark decision awarding 20-year-old retail workers the same pay as 21-year-olds.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver yesterday welcomed a Fair Work Commission ruling on Friday that 20-year-olds should receive the full adult rate of pay instead of the 90 per cent currently offered.

The changes, to be brought in over two years, amount to an extra $1.80 an hour for part-time workers who have worked for a business for at least six months.

Mr Oliver dismissed complaints the increase would “crush” small business and increase youth unemployment. Junior rates apply in 72 of the 122 modern awards, including hospitality, construction, manufacturing, and health care. “An 18-year-old is recognised as an adult under the law,” he said.

“Many are independent and have the rent and expenses of an adult, some have families, and yet they are paid less. An 18-year-old can go to war and fight for their country but if they enter the workforce they get 30 per cent less than their colleagues.”

While it was “a long road ahead”, unions would continue to fight for 18-year-olds to receive the adult wage. “Unions will be looking closely at this decision by the Fair Work Commission and how it will impact future claims as we continue to campaign for fair pay at adult rates for young workers,” he said. “We will be discussing the implications because the current system is out of date. It’s outdated policy that a young person is working side by side doing the same job in a workplace but getting paid less than the person next to them who is older.

“Young workers are important contributors to thousands of workplaces and anyone who argues that paying them a fair wage will cost them their jobs is underselling their worth.”

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23 Responses to What’s a bit more youth unemployment?

  1. Louis Hissink

    And to learn that the minimum wage was originally designed by Sidney Webb during the 19th century to ensure that the useless members of English society were “culled” by not letting them work. Nowadays it’s used to eliminate competition.

    Expect another increase in unemployment numbers down the track.

  2. Rabz

    And then there is this amazing instruction to the union: you draft the changes to the award.

    This is SOP, Judith.

    What a piece of genius it was by Abbott to leave this hotbed of lazy, incompetent dunderheads untouched during this term of government.

  3. Driftforge

    First step – minimum wage, set regionally.

  4. Joe

    I think I’ll just zero out their budget.
    Damn, I’m not that Joe.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    What’s a bit more youth unemployment?

    Here we go:

    City with 36% Unemployment Rate Now has Highest Minimum Wage in California

    It’s the third most dangerous city in California and its 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th top employers are all the government. And it has a huge gang problem. So clearly the thing to do is make the city as unattractive as possible to small businesses while eliminating lower end jobs in order to help the gangs expand.

    At least it will give more job opportunities for all those public sector workers in social work and law enforcement. And the health sector, from all the extra gunshot wounds.

  6. Cool Head

    High youth wages, in fact a high minimum wage, leads to high unemployment and high rates of youth suicide. Labor doing its best to keep control of their cohort.

  7. rebel with cause

    The tipoff is that it is called the ‘Fair Work Commission’. ‘Fairness’ has been the labour movement objective since the day dot.

  8. Squirrel

    For the best and most favoured younger workers this may be a bonus, but for many others, it may mean getting the push one year earlier than would otherwise have been the case.

    Perhaps the decision makers are anticipating a big boost for retail from a drop in the GST threshold on imports from $1000 to $20 – absent that, or some other miracle, this is hardly the time to be adding to costs.

    On the broader point, I strongly agree – there are clear risks of accelerating youth unemployment, which will come at a very high social cost, and only add to the sense of alienation felt by younger people who perceive that the wealth and opportunities in our society are being disproportionately and unfairly controlled by middle aged and older people.

  9. ar

    Youth unemployment… Thought this might have been about Howes…

  10. DrBeauGan

    The utter insanity is having wage rates determined by people who don’t have to pay them or get them.

  11. Fred Lenin

    The solution is simple,follow the moves made by the drunk hawkieand the sleazebag keato,turn ALL high schools i to universities,and raise the leaving age to 35 years old,problem solved they are now all students,soshalist lateral thinking!

  12. duncanm

    FWA is part of the Union/ALP protection racket.

    They only act upon requests from Unions, by Unions, for Unions. They were designed that way, and they are very good at it.

    I have many colleagues who have been screwed by duplicitous employers, and FWA wasn’t worth a cracker in helping any of them.

    They are no better than the large construction firms that a complicit in the featherbedding of building entitlements.

  13. Ant

    The left love the unemployed – especially unemployed yoof, who they regard as their natural constituency.

    The more the merrier.

    If they really cared about these youths, they’d lift all of the ridiculously onerous hoops an employer has to jump through to employ anybody, rein in their miscreant union mates and abolish the minimum wage.

  14. Fred Lenin

    Wonder how the old comrades on “Furrwork” will go when the RC into union corruption starts to rattle their cages,be an idea to extend the RC into corruption in the law trade too ,theres a nest of RATS for you !

  15. Anne

    rebel with cause
    #1236479, posted on March 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm
    The tipoff is that it is called the ‘Fair Work Commission’. ‘Fairness’ has been the labour movement objective since the day dot.

    It hasn’t worked out so well for employers or kids without jobs …and don’t call me Dot!

  16. .

    And to learn that the minimum wage was originally designed by Sidney Webb during the 19th century to ensure that the useless members of English society were “culled” by not letting them work. Nowadays it’s used to eliminate competition.

    I would like to know more.

  17. Anne

    UNION membership in Australia might halve overnight if all state governments outlawed payroll deduction of union fees and the federal government outlawed the forcible unionisation of small business by big business.
    Unions have always foreseen that such laws might pass. For decades the ACTU has been trying to insure against widespread membership losses by training union officials by the “organising model”, a technique learned from US unionists.


    Fantastic to see articles like this, shining a light on such sinister manipulation of young people in the work place.

  18. dragnet

    This morning 2JJJ in Sydney gave a lot of prominence to the Brotherhood of St Laurence prediction re the looming disaster of high youth unemployment, but predictably provided no mention of the fact that excessive youth wages were cited by the Brotherhood as being one of the causes.

  19. Sounds like a good time to bring in National Service. Everyone does two years Reserves, and the Regular Army gets its Diggers by invitation only.

  20. .

    That Sidney Webb (inventor of the minimum wage in modern times) was a disgusting individual. From wiki:

    The Webbs were supporters of the Soviet Union until their deaths. Their books, Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (1935) and The Truth About Soviet Russia (1942) give a very positive assessment of Joseph Stalin’s regime.

    Webb co-authored, with his wife, a pivotal book on the History of Trade Unionism (1894). For the Fabian Society he wrote on poverty in London,[4] the eight-hour day,[5][6] land nationalisation[7] the nature of socialism,[8] education,[9] eugenics[10] and reform of the House of Lords.[11]


  21. stackja

    Liberty Quotes
    It is obviously futile to attempt to eliminate unemployment by embarking upon a program of public works that would otherwise not have been undertaken. The necessary resources for such projects must be withdrawn by taxes or loans from the application they would otherwise have found. Unemployment in one industry can, in this way, be mitigated only to the extent that it is increased in another.
    — Ludwig von Mises

  22. Baa Humbug

    OK so a 20 yr old argues that he/she can do a job just as well as a 21 yr old. Sounds reasonable on the surface.
    A couple of years later, a 19 yr old argues that he/she can do a job just as well as a 20 yr old. Just as reasonable as the above.
    A couple of years later….owww you know where I’m going with this.

  23. Roger

    I employ just under 50 people although a good number are part-time. I employ four teenagers, after school til closing; ie 2hrs. But due to changes a couple of years ago I have to pay them for a minimum shift of 3 hrs. I coped this on the chin because I was paying them a low wage rate. It is low skilled, packing cleaning work. It is just as easy for me to replace them with one .8 part-timer but hey, I like the fact I can give four kids some paid work experience. They are not asking for more money. They’re happy to have a job that fits around school, sport, school camps, school holidays. This will no longer work for me so they will have to go. Good work FWA. Pricks.

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