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No delight for workers at regional bakers.

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HON. SIMON CREAN MP Federal Labor Shadow Minister Regional Development

2nd march 2006


Young employees at a Bakers Delight franchise in rural Victoria are being asked to trade away conditions such as paid holidays and penalty rates on public holidays for a miserable wage increase of 75c an hour.

This means they would be paid less than half of the award rate for working on a public holiday - such as Anzac Day or Good Friday - and almost $5 less an hour for working on a Sunday.

Simon Crean MP, Shadow Minister for Regional Development, said that the example highlights how workers in regional areas are particularly vulnerable under the Howard government’s new industrial relations laws.

Bakers Delight has form. It is also a very big operation, employing approximately 15,000 people in almost 700 bakeries in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Mr Crean said that last year there was a case in South Australia, also at Bakers Delight, where a young woman was offered an AWA at $8.35 an hour, half the adult rate, with no annual leave or sick leave. She could accept, or miss out on the job. She accepted, but complained to the State Industrial Commission. She won the case and the Commission came to her protection, ordering back pay, because her AWA had not been correctly lodged.

50 other Bakers Delight employees in South Australia received no protection because their AWAs had been correctly lodged.

This happened before the new IR laws came into effect. Now, under Howard’s new IR laws, there will be no protection at all for young and vulnerable workers.

A worker one out against the boss is not a fair match.

A worker in a country town, who needs a job, won’t have much of a choice - they can take the AWA or take the sack.

“I’ll be campaigning in regional Australia to protect vulnerable workers against Howard’s extreme industrial relations laws,” said Mr Crean.

Now more than ever, after ten long years of Howard’s hubris, workers in regional Australia need a Labor government to protect their wages and conditions.