Yahoo….I was referred to two days per week Work For The Dole last week and I thought all my Xmases had come at once. Finally, I thought, after months of solidly beavering away at trying to find a job I was being offered two days work per week.
Phew I thought, even if they only offer basic wage rates, I should be able to save up and pay off some of the back-bills that inevitably accrue when you are starving along on Newstart. How wonderful of the Government I thought.
I duly arrived at my Jobnetwork Provider full of eagerness to get the employment contract signed, and I felt a huge surge of relief at the thought that I was soon going to be, once again, a productive and working member of our society, even if for only two days per week.
I had waited a long time for this moment.
Out came the paperwork and I signed it at the speed of light and then politely requested information regarding what Award I would be working under, what Superannuation scheme I would be connected to, and what the general working conditions would be like.
Naturally I assumed that since I would be working for a Government sponsored scheme I would be covered by all the normal Industrial Relations Legislation that applies to each and every other workplace in Australia, and each and every other Employee.
The Jobnetwork Staff Member just stared at me blankly. Not wishing to be rude I just half-stared back. We sat like that for quite some time.
Eventually the Staff Member pointed out that for my work I would be paid at the usual rates…….the usual rates of Newstart that is. He pointed out that no Award would apply, and that since I would not really be an Employee of anyone then the idea of Super contributions would simply sit on the ‘don’t be silly’ list. I can tell you that kept me quiet for a bit.
I asked the Staff Member how much he earned per hour for his labour, and he asked me to not be such an uncooperative trouble-making type. I noticed his finger hovering over the Eject This Bozo To No Dole For Some Number Of Weeks Button so I bit my lip so strongly that the blood almost flowed.
He then proceeded to assign me to a Project where I could fully fulfil, according to the Coalition and the ALP before them, my well-paid obligation to the Commonwealth of Australia.
Since I was very computer literate, had run my own business at one stage, and had worked loyally for many employers over my lifetime, I felt at least that my work skills would be taken into account when a Project was picked out for me.
Oops, wrong again….imagine my surprise when I was informed that I would now spend two days per week planting trees on a vertical hillside in the blazing sun 30klms from home. Being older rather than younger I had wonderful visions of rolling back down that hill once the effects of dehydration and stroke had their way with me.
I have been a productive working member of this society for most of my working life but it gradually began to dawn on me that the system did not see me that way.
It saw me as a ‘Dole Bludger’ who needed to be punished because I have not been able to secure employment. Well…. I have been solidly trying to secure employment in a climate where there don’t seem to be too many jobs going around. In fact there appear to be a great number of people trying to secure the small number of real jobs that are going around.
People with the empathy of a rock designed the Work for the Dole program to punish People for their disadvantage. Both the ALP and the Coalition mask their heartlessness, and their eagerness to capture the swinging bogan vote, by using such terms as ‘Mutual Obligation’ and ‘Workforce Participation’.
Well there’s hardly a workforce out there pregnant with vacancies to participate in guys!
And after half a lifetime of paying my taxes and fully meeting my obligations as a Citizen of Australia I am underwhelmingly delighted to be lectured on obligation matters by that vacuous twerp Scott Morrison.
If you are a lucky person who has never been unemployed here are a few facts for you…..
People on Newstart subsist below the poverty line. They cannot fully pay their primary bills – electricity bills, rent bills, transport bills, and food bills. They have to over extend their Credit Cards each fortnight simply to survive into the next fortnight. They are not having a ‘holiday’ and they are not having a ‘whale of a time’.
And some of you out there think that Work for the Dole is a great way to punish these Unemployed People for their disadvantage. In order to feel ashamed of yourselves you first need to be capable of feeling.
Work For The Dole is not Work. It is not a Job. It does not lead anywhere. It is SLAVE LABOUR.
All that’s missing are the Chains and Shackles!