SA employers ask for handouts
By Craig McLeod
ADELAIDE — South Australia currently has the highest unemployment rate of any state, with working-class areas such as Noarlunga, Salisbury and Elizabeth hardest hit. In May, SA had 74,585 on the dole, compared with 45,192 in August 1990.
Unemployment has reached a post-depression high of 12.4%, while youth unemployment has hit 45%. Taking advantage of this, the SA Chamber of Commerce has proposed a youth wage, with the federal government paying half. This bosses' union also wants to exempt employers with fewer than 25 workers from the superannuation levy, and a more "flexible" industrial relations policy, particularly on workers' compensation and equal opportunity.
A recent Sunday Mail survey revealed that many people aged 15-20 believe a youth wage would be unfair. Adelaide Resistance organiser Rebecca Meckelburg agrees. "The only people not consulted in the discussion about youth unemployment and youth wages are young people themselves", she says.
"Everyone is entitled to a fair and equal wage. If the work training schemes go ahead, many young workers will be working for wages well below the poverty line. The youth training wage is not going to solve the problem of youth unemployment, but rather provide cheap, government-subsidised labour for greedy employers. Once the training period is finished, there will be no guarantee of a job."
Resistance will hold a protest against unemployment and the proposed youth wage at the SA parliament on August 12, the day after the federal budget.