The exchange of labour for money; work.

I have been offered a new job. It is in my field, but would involve a 10% drop in wages as this organisation’s employee agreement is not as generous as my current one. Unlike other new jobs, this one filled me with all sorts of ethical dilemmas when it comes to my contract, as the organisation states:

“Successful applicants may be offered an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) with an attractive package.”

I have to consider what my values are worth. Can they be bought off for say, 10 – 20% more money than what an employee’s certified agreement offers?

What value can I put on a supportive, hi-tech, forward-thinking workplace, with fascinating projects where management say fuck like the rest of us?

How could I attend my union rallies knowing that I campaigned AGAINST AWA’s way back when Peter Reith and Cheryl Kernot got together and did a deal.

What if I take the extra pay and donate it to a good cause?
I am excited about my new, extremely complex and interesting work and will say “Yes please.”

Now for the navel gazing…

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10 Responses to “The exchange of labour for money; work.”

  1. weezil Says:

    The downside to selling your entitlements is that then they’re considered negotiable. They’re no longer entitlements, are they?

  2. Graham Bell Says:

    Suki:
    I’ve said before that the new I.R. swindle will wreck productivity.

    Of course you could go ahead and sign an AWA ….. in the same spirit in which it was given to you …. and then exercise the slave’s prerogative. If you like your new owner, work hard for him; if you don’t like your new master, you can always deflect his customers, degrade his profitablility, ensure the wheels don’t turn smoothly. diminish his stock, help things go wrong, etc., etc. Dead easy and good fun too. The AWA might make you feel helpless but you’re only as helpless as you allow yourself to be.

    Then again, you could give him an ultimatum …. “It’s either me or your precious AWA. Make up your mind, sonny”.

  3. Suki Says:

    Graham, you old subversive you! 😉

  4. Helen Says:

    Suki, I’m confused.
    At first you say the new job will entail a cut in pay.
    then you talk about being conflicted about the AWA and therefore intending to donate the extra pay (Yay!)

    These seem to be contradictory…?…

  5. Suki Says:

    Helen, sorry. What I should have said was that I have become greedy in my old age and Im ashamed to even admit that I entertained the thought of negotiating outside a collective bargain for me to really just get fat and sassy. It was tempting and I had to look at who I am, and a $ value on my values.

    Whilst my new employer would never insist on a yellow dog contract, and is by and large fair and reasonable, I did have a moment there where an AWA was looking good. The wages from a job were a huge determinant. I am very thankful I have the capacity and ability to choose.

    How harsh can I be on people who dont have real choice as they have debts, young children, unstable contract work, or all of the above?

    It was sobering and I am pleased to announce that I can hold my head up high at the next union meeting as I went with the CBA, because today I can afford my politics, and find non-monetary aspects of my employ valuable, but who knows what the next contract brings

  6. Graham Bell Says:

    Suki:
    Good on you. “Surprise Bargaining” is not good but it’s a hell of a lot better than an “Attack Workers Abuse”. Shall toast your good fortune in a few minutes (sorry I can’t pour one for you down the wires).

  7. Suki Says:

    Graham,
    I was informed by good advice reminding me of the salient happy-work-related considerations such as “pleasant work colleagues, nice morning teas and other non-cash benefits.”

    Thank you 🙂
    Suki.

  8. Graham Bell Says:

    Suki:
    I was going to be smart and say “Be happy on your work” but that phrase has unpleasant connotations so I’ll just wish you all the best in your new job.

    Right now, I have one eye on the tv watching a documentary about unemployed workers taking over an abandoned factory in Argentina. If things don’t work out in your new job perhaps you and your colleagues might find inspiration in that sort of thing. …….Who said that!!!

  9. weezil Says:

    GB, I saw that too. Fascinating. The occupation of ‘unprofitable’ factories and their mystical return to profitable operation speaks volumes about the lack of worker protections and level of greed in Argentina.

    Funny thing is, under NoWorkChoices, Australians are now more poorly protected than their Argentinian counterparts. A little Bolivarian revolution in Australia might be just what it takes to bring the greedheads to the bargaining table.

  10. Graham Bell Says:

    Weezil:
    True. The joke on Australian businesses is that if they give their workers better protection and fairer working arrangements, they would be rewarded with increased productivity. Well, doing otherwise comes at a price Australian business falls over itself to pay.

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