Apprentices campaign fires up at WA conference
Feb 26, 2009
Apprentices in WA are geared up to fight for their rights in 2009
Apprentices have decided to form an apprentice network and fight for improved conditions, training and wages, at a conference in Perth this week.
Twenty-five apprentices from across Western Australia met over two days in Perth and discussed issues from the quality of training they received to the inadequacy of tool allowances.
Daniel Murfit, a 4th year apprentice electrical mechanic said that the conference had been an eye-opening experience.
“It was shocking to hear about some of the conditions that other apprentices are working under, and it was good to be able to understand how the union can help and what we can do about it.”
The apprentices discovered that some were being paid as much as 43% more than others in the same year, because they were on a union collective agreement at work.
Jeff, an apprentice boilermaker, said he had been given inappropriate tools from his group training organisation which had complained when he tried to change them.
“I was given a $150 grinder that I already have supplied at work and a $50 welding jacket which is protective clothing not a tool.. When the $800 (tool allowance) is not enough already, the last thing you need is them saying you have to pay $200 for the wrong things.”
Some apprentices were being forced to pay up to $500 per semester in TAFE fees.
AMWU State Secretary, Steve McCartney said that the conference was all about letting apprentices know that the union understands their issues and can help.
“Whether its through taking up an issue at their work or helping them campaign for better conditions set by government the union can help apprentices a lot.”
At the end of the conference apprentices voted to return to their workplaces and begin campaigning around 5 key issues:
1. Quality of training
2. TAFE costs
3. Tools and allowances
5. Job security and employment rights
“We just need to get out there and tell people we can make a difference by being in the union”, said Mr Murfit.
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