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Media Release

August 13 2007

Report shows working women lose out under WorkChoices

A national report on the impact of WorkChoices on women workers released today shows outcomes for working women and families are not good.

The report, Women and WorkChoices: Impacts on the Low Pay Sector, presents the findings of in-depth interviews with 121 women working in retail, clerical, hospitality, aged care, child care and cleaning jobs across Australia.

The research was conducted by academics from six universities across all mainland states and the ACT.

Together they bring many years of research, publications and policy experience to the study. The report was commissioned by the National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW), WEL Australia and the YWCA Australia.

Contributor to the report UniSA researcher, Dr Jude Elton says the interviews reveal the effects of WorkChoices on the day-to-day lives of the women.

“The qualitative study goes beyond the statistics to find out what is happening in workplaces: to women’s job security, hours of work, pay and condition,” she says.

The study also goes further by asking women how changes are affecting their accommodation, relationships, health, capacity to fit work and family, and ability to plan for the future.

“The findings show that, for these low paid women, WorkChoices is making it harder to match work and care,” Dr Elton says. “Greatly reduced job security is undermining their capacity to bargain for proper pay and conditions. Their working conditions have deteriorated.

“The women who volunteered to participate in the study did so because they were concerned for the future and for other more vulnerable workers.”

The report sets out recommendations to address the negative impacts of WorkChoices, based on the comments with these women.

The research team comprised:
Jude Elton, University of South Australia
Janis Bailey, Griffith University
Marian Baird, University of Sydney
Sara Charlesworth, RMIT University
Rae Cooper, University of Sydney
Bradon Ellem, University of Sydney
Therese Jefferson, Curtin University of Technology
Fiona Macdonald, RMIT University & University of Queensland
Damian Oliver, University of Sydney
Barbara Pocock, University of South Australia
Alison Preston, Curtin University of Technology
Gillian Whitehouse, University of Queensland

The report will be launched by NFAW, WEL and the YWCA in Committee Room 2s.3 Parliament House, Canberra at 12 noon Monday August 13th.

Report researchers from NSW, Victoria and SA will be present.
The report will then be available online at www.nfaw.org and www.unisa.edu.au/hawkeinstitute/cwl/publications.asp

Contact for interview

State and regional research details