Government ensures PaTH to poverty for young people with new retail deal

The day after cutting retail workers’ wages under the lie that it will create jobs, the Turnbull Government is forcing young people into slave labour arrangements with big companies and ensuring they remain in entrenched poverty.

The Turnbull Government has announced it will be replacing 10,000 fully paid jobs in retail with Government paid $4 an hour positions for young working people – jobs that actually amount to free labour for retailers.

In fact, retailers will be paid $1,000 per job seeker by the Government to effectively exploit kids who are desperate for work.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said “Business is benefiting at the expense of workers. The rules need to change to stop the exploitation of young people.”

“Not content with cutting penalty rates, the Turnbull Government now wants retail workers to work for $4 an hour. That’s slave labour.”

“The new deal with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is further evidence of the collusion between big business and the Government.”

“The impact of this decision will be devastating to young people’s lives; there is no path to qualification, no path to proper training, no protections of the Fair Work Act, no path to a job.”

“This program will do nothing for young people beyond churning them through short-term, dead-end placement. It will take away full wage paying positions, denying Australians of decent work, and will entrench the current situation of soaring profits and stagnating wages.”

“Our young people are being forced into programs where they have to readily accept that joining the PaTH program will not guarantee a job. The Government has admitted that only 15 per cent of PaTH internships have resulted in real jobs. That's only 93 jobs nationally.”

“Companies like Bakers Delight, already subject to multiple claims of underpayment and exploitation of old WorkChoices era agreements, have readily signed on.

“Bakers Delight was caught paying its workers as little as $8 an hour. Under the PaTH deal, its employees can be paid $4 an hour, which will be paid for by the Government, and it will also receive $1,000 per PaTH worker.”

“If there are jobs out there, young people should be getting jobs full pay, real training opportunities, negotiated wage subsidies, and all the protection of being a proper employee.”