March 28, 2006

We Are Grist For Their Mills

PM John Howard tells Australians: "The only way to make it to the top is to kiss ass like me":
The Federal Government has confirmed that an employer can sack a worker if there is a clash of personalities under the new industrial relations system that started yesterday.

Under the new laws, unfair dismissal provisions have been removed for companies with fewer than 100 employees.
I have some personal experience to relate here.

About 5 years ago I went for a 2 month contract in Brisbane. At the interview, I was offered a full-time job instead, which I accepted. I worked hard for over three months. Then one day, the boss suddenly announced that I would be going part-time and my salary would be halved.

I was outraged: I had made financial and personal commitments (even bought a new car for the long drive to and from work) on the basis of a reliable salary, which was suddenly cut from under me.

I went to court, personally confronted the lying bastard lawyers my ex-boss hired, and eventually won six weeks' back-pay. The judge expressed sympathy for my plight and asked me if I wanted the old job back (I said NO!).

In John Howard's brave new world, I would get nothing, least of all sympathy.

I know the plight of illegal immigrant workers in the USA is worse, but there is a common thread of exploitation.

When laws only favour the rich and powerful, widespread outrage is inevitable. Such outrage cannot spread forever without serious social and political repercussions.

Wise leaders seek harmony, not endless confrontation.

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