YAPA media release: 25 April 2006
New research shows young people in weak bargaining position in workplace - Call to ban individual contracts for young workers
The Federal Government must ban individual work contracts for workers under the age of 20, following the results of the latest research from the Youth Action and Policy Association (YAPA).
The YAPA report, which surveyed over 400 young workers, showed that:
The majority of young people thought they would be better off under an award.
Less than 1 in 5 young people thought they would be better off negotiating their own pay and conditions.
The majority of young people are not confident to negotiate their own pay and conditions.
Young people are more likely to put up with poor pay and conditions than to quit and look for another job.
Over 40% of young people under 18 were unsure about the conditions of both the award system and individual negotiation.
"It is a myth that people who are unhappy with their pay and conditions will simply quit their job to find another one, especially when youth unemployment is so high," said John Ferguson, YAPA's Policy Officer.
"The Federal Government claims that it is patronising to say that young people cannot negotiate their own pay and conditions, however this report clearly shows that young people are not confident to negotiate and that they would prefer to work under an award. This is not patronising, it is simply realistic."
"It is grossly unfair to expect a young person to negotiate their livelihood with people 2 or 3 times their age and with years more experience."
"Young people are commonly in casual employment in positions that only require basic skills. Young people feel powerless due to the fact that an employer can easily find someone else, particularly another young person who is willing to work for less pay and conditions."
"The new IR system for young people is less about negotiation and more about desperation. With youth unemployment so high and a diminishing welfare system, employers will have the power to hire the young people most desperate for work. "
"For young people trying to secure work in competition with others, it will be a race to the bottom in terms of pay and conditions".
"Young people are usually working while also studying full time. Their pay and conditions are vital to support their basic needs and keep them in education."
"These findings were consistent across age, gender, education and location, further emphasising the breadth of which individual negotiation is not beneficial for young people."
"From our recent study, the new workplace looks increasingly bleak. Young people will become even more powerless and more at risk of exploitation, bullying and harassment."
John Ferguson, YAPA Policy Officer
02 9319 1100
Media coverage on this issue
- Why young can't quit bad jobs: Sydney Morning Herald 25/4/06