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Minister needs to deliver on employment services jobs promise - Greens

The Australian Greens are calling on the Minister for Employment, Brendan O'Connor to act quickly to ensure he delivers on his promise to look after former Job Network staff.

"We are hearing distressing stories of former Job Network staff unable to secure work or being forced to take massive pay cuts as a result of the recent debacle with the employment services tender," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

The tender process has resulted in a massive turn-over of employment service providers, with many previously high-rated services being replaced by new providers.

Now, submissions to the Senate inquiry into this process are revealing some unscrupulous providers are using this turnover and the uncertainty of the recession as an excuse to drive down wages or trick staff out of redundancy pay.

"We are calling on the Minister to investigate:
• allegations of 'spill and fill' tactics by continuing providers
• unacceptably low wages being offered by new providers
• allegations of forced resignations
• that all staff receive their redundancy entitlements."

"Brendan O'Connor has said he will ensure displaced staff find continuing work in his new employment services scheme - he needs to make sure that this means the same pay for the same work and that experienced staff are prioritised ahead of cheaper inexperienced ones," said Senator Siewert.

"I hope the Government now recognises that throwing all these services up in the air at the same time as it was tackling rapidly rising unemployment was a mistake - it now needs to make good and ensure it does the right thing by those staff who have been caught in the middle," she concluded.

Senator Siewert urged concerned staff to get in touch with their union if they are uncertain about their rights and entitlement.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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