This story is the type of story I have read over the years and never given it much thought because I figured the workers were given a sense of worth and usefullness. BUT is it right because they have disabilites that they deserve to get paid next to nothing for the work that they put 100% of their abilities into…
And is not that all we ask of our every day workers?… I am having an educated guess here, but I am pretty certain there are those in the business community taking advantage of this little “Crack” in the system.
They see the cheap labour for their contract and think great…But who is offering these cheap labour contracts? Who makes money out of it?
Please tell me your experiences people.
Because this is happening in every suburb of every capital city in our country. Is it right, who cares? and why should it happen…I personally find underpaying the handicapped criminal… Please read on
Michael Nojin, 44, who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, impaired motor skills and an intellectual disability, has done office jobs such as removing staples, shredding documents and sweeping floors for $1.79 an hour.
Gordon Prior, 58, has a vision and intellectual impairment and has worked as a gardener for $3.47 an hour.
The men will go to the Federal Court in Melbourne next Monday, arguing that the wage assessment tool – created for disabled workers by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) – has failed disabled workers and kept their wages unfairly low.
If they are successful, they hope to improve wages for more than 20,000 people with a disability who work at Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) across the country.
Association of Employees with Disability (AED) Legal Centre solicitor Kairsty Wilson said the organisation had another 60 clients with a complaint about their wage assessment.
They dispute the Business Service Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT), introduced by FaHCSIA in 2004 to set the wages of workers with disabilities.
“The Government’s intended goal with BSWAT was to ensure that people with disabilities received a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” Ms Wilson said. “Our case is that BSWAT has failed in this function and has instead acted to keep the wages of these workers far below what the community would regard as reasonable.”
The AED Legal Centre says while Mr Prior was paid $3.47 an hour as a gardener under BSWAT, he received $10.33 an hour under a different assessment tool when he began a new job at a laundromat.
Mr Nojin was assessed as deserving $2.46 an hour for his work under BSWAT and, when he challenged this for being too low, a BSWAT reassessment reduced his wages to $1.79 an hour.
The AED says BSWAT has been the preferred wage assessment tool for a significant number of ADEs across Australia because it keeps pay lower than other assessment mechanisms.
It says disabled workers perform tasks such as packaging, recycling, gardening, production line work and mail sorting, for which they are paid an average gross hourly rate of $3.61.
A FaHCSIA spokeswoman said as the case was before the court, it was inappropriate to comment on issues subject to judicial proceedings.