Monday, September 13, 2004

Work for the dole is legal slavery

Work for the dole is legal slavery! Smash this abuse by Howard and his bosses!

Work for the dole was originally sold to us by Howard as a warm and fuzzy light work project. We would be working for nothing but we would be enjoying giving back something to the community, so it was reckoned.

Some projects do fit this rosy image. But over the past year it has become clearer that the government's agenda is much more sinister. Nothing was said about the paid workers whose jobs we would be taking over for no pay other than the pittance they give us to live on called the dole.

They want to replace a large section of the work force with unemployed slave labour. With the unemployed doing their work, for instance, Lidcombe TAFE does not have to employ gardeners.

Campbelltown council does not have to employ gardeners to plant trees either. All they have to do is find a compliant "work for the dole" provider to deliver unemployed labour. Courtesy of sharks like H and H (full name please), the Wesley Mission and the exploiters: schools, hospitals, parks, community centres etc receive bargain basement unemployed labour to carry out painting, carpentry, concreting, land-scaping and even nursing and teacher's aid work. For an extra ten dollars on top of normal dole payments - hardly enough to compensate us for the extra fares involved!

This is not job creation it is job destruction. The people whose work it normally is are deprived of their livelihood. Unemployed labour is being used to undermine working conditions so the work force, threatened with replacement by work for the dole "unemployed", will have to work harder for longer hours and with less pleasant working conditions. Does this provide jobs by making unemployed more employable?

A survey commissioned by ACOSS finds that it doesn't! Unemployed doing work for the dole are less likely to find employment and not more!

StandUp! Wants to know about your experiences on work for the dole. We want to raise many issues. The work that is demanded, the treatment by supervisors, whether you have been informed of your rights, whether there is adequate safety and any issue that you feel that is important to you.

We wish to build an ongoing campaign against work for the dole. To do this we must be visible so they can't deny we are angry about this blatant exploitation and sweep us under the carpet.

Come to our meetings, join our campaign, abolish work for the dole!!!


Under current legislation, older unemployed do not have to do work for the dole we think no one should. But one job network agency has tried to bridge the gap by underhandedly trying to impose it on their clients over fifty.

They were all assembled and told that they were going to be offered "work experience" meaning each of them would do free labour for a boss for a number of weeks.

The unemployed weren't impressed. MTC were challenged on various areas.

Firstly they assured that there would be adequate insurance but this assurance was not that convincing, as they couldn't give details.

Secondly, they were forced to admit that they couldn't make it compulsory, as it wasn't CentreLink approved.

Thirdly they were forced to admit that the participants would not receive the ten dollars per week extra that normal work for the dole participants usually receive.

They had to admit that this scheme was voluntary so understandably, they didn't get many takers. We think that this was just one more desperate measure by a struggling job network agency desperate to show the authorities that they can get some sort of result which they need to guarantee continued operation for their agency.

The private job network agency system demands results and agencies will go to desperate lengths to get them - at our expense!


In 2001, Craig Johnson, then leader of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Manufacturing workers Union was charged along with others for taking militant action against Skilled Engineering, a dodgy company which takes advantage of those who find it difficult getting full time work.

Craig was defending older long term workers at a tile factory who were being displaced by part time workers provided by Skilled. Skilled was the first of the notorious labourhire companies who use part time workers to undermine the wages and conditions of full time workers. Initially, eighteen were charged.

This was reduced to six. Now the prosecutors are concentrating on Craig. He faces nine months jail for damage to property, affray and abusive language. The damage Craig did is minimal yet he is facing a long-term prison sentence. His real crime is militant unionism. His real crime is that he challenges Victoria's premier Steve Bracks cosy relationship with the bosses.

StandUp! Unconditionally defends Craig Johnston. We want him released unconditionally. Those who whine about "damage" should consider the damage companies like Skilled do to the lives of workers. Those who lost their jobs at Johnson Tiles will never be able to work again - especially as most bosses refuse to employ older workers.

StandUp! Wants unionists to fight in solidarity with the unemployed people, to defend us. Therefore we want militant unionists out of prison. We therefore urge every unemployed person and unionist to come to the defence of Craig and release him from prison! Together we can unite and fight the bosses offensive, which are attacking all of us.

StandUp! Is a social and unemployed activist grouping. We campaign against attacks on unemployed people (including all those on benefits) and for the right to a decent living for all! You are welcome to contact us by phoning 9599 1727 on Friday between 10am and 4pm or by coming to our meetings every second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 6pm South Sydney Leagues Club Charmers St Redfern.

By StandUp! News posted 13 September 04
Phone 95992717
Fridays Mobile 0423 670 417


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