Modia Minotaur

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Howard: 5 Day Week `Extinct'

The five day week is `extinct', according to John Howard, and we should all just get over it and get back to work.

Let me tell you my situation. I work weekends, because my job pays too poorly to live off the weekday rate. Thanks to an enterprise bargaining agreement negotiated in my workplace three years ago, I receive time and a quarter on Saturdays and time and a half on Sundays, which just about allows me to pay my way, but is hardly worth me giving up my weekend each and every week; something that has a huge social impact. Yes, sadly, for some people - and only out of financial necessity - the traditional five day week is extinct. But the government should not be sitting on the sidelines cheering as it disappears. It is incumbent, in my opinion, on governments to preserve the living standards of the greatest majority - to ensure, if at all possible, that people do not have to work nights, weekends or extra jobs just to make ends meet. Instead, they hide behind the `choice' excuse. If you choose to work weekends, you should be allowed to. That's why it's called WorkChoices! Well, Mr Howard - not everyone has a choice. They're the ones governments are supposed to defend. (Apparently, Judi Moylan is the only one willing to do this, and more power to her).

Given that the Federal Government is planning to guillotine debate on the industrial relations changes, us bloggers will have to keep our end up. (Apparently, the `debate' has already been had during Question Time - despite specific prohibitions on questions being framed as debates. Ah, democracy!)

Meanwhile, the ACTU's Greg Combet this morning told ABC's Virginia Trioli that one of the more obscure stings in WorkChoices is the new requirement to present a medical certificate for all sick days. What a wonderful way of both putting an extra strain on the medical system and hitting low income earners for the consultation (unless you can find someone who bulk bills - good luck), all for nothing more than getting a certificate to explain away a 24 hour flu. What a wonderful situation for the mentally ill, and those who have been subjected to domestic violence. What a wonderful world.

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