By JONATHAN PEARCEMAGUMAN | Updated July 14, 2020 08:08:30AUSTRALIAN timber companies are trying to stop workers from taking a pay cut by stopping payments for a whole range of reasons, including the increasing cost of living and the inability to work from home.
As the industry faces more pressure to deliver on its $15-a-hour commitment to reduce workplace stress and injury, there is also the issue of how to manage workers’ anger.
But for some workers who are paid less than $US20 a day, the impact on their pay is much greater.
In fact, a report released by the Australian Workers Union shows there are up to 2.4 million workers in the industry who are either being paid less or receiving no pay at all, with up to 30,000 receiving less than the minimum wage.
As workers struggle to make ends meet, some are using their social media to raise awareness of their plight.
One Facebook user has taken to the company’s official Facebook page to post a list of reasons why a worker could be losing their job, including:A person can be laid off if the company is losing moneyA person is laid off for lack of workA person cannot work because of the weatherA person gets a termination notice that they have not received payThe company can lose money in a restructuring processA person loses their job for being overweightA person may have to leave the companyA person goes on disability or is in a care home.
An employee’s pay may be cut because they need to care for a childA worker who has a medical condition could lose their job.
But what about people who are just working part time?
According to a new study published in the Journal of Labor Economics, workers in forestry jobs have experienced a decrease in wages due to the changing industry.
For the timber industry, the industry is estimated to have paid $US1.6 billion in wage increases since 2011, with a median wage for a person working part-time fell from $US26.75 in 2010 to $US19.10 in 2020.
But even after adjusting for inflation, the study found workers in timber-related jobs were paying less than those who are full-time.
The report found workers were paying the lowest wages in the timber processing industry, and the lowest in the mining and pulp and paper industries, at $US15.10 a day.
The study, which looked at data from more than 2,000 workers who worked in the forestry and pulp industry in the period between 2010 and 2020, found that over half of the workers who were paying lower wages were employed in the pulp and cardboard industry, which is a more expensive and less-skilled job.
“A major reason why the wage gap is widening is that these workers are not able to find full- or part-timers,” said Dr Elizabeth Stokes, from the Australian Labour Congress (ALC), who led the study.
“Many of these workers were working part hours to supplement their income and they may have been unable to afford to buy a home.”
A study released last year by the United Kingdom’s Department of Employment found that the forestry industry was experiencing a significant wage decline.
The ALC report, which examined data from the Forestry, Paper, Wood and Paper Products (FPPW) Industry Sector and the Forestry Industry Council (FIC), found that between 2010-2020, the FFPW sector experienced an average wage cut of 6 per cent, with the biggest cut in the paper industry and paper mill sector, at 23 per cent.
“The real issue is that workers are being paid more and not being paid for their work,” Dr Stokes said.
“It’s about making sure that people in these industries are being able to afford a home, not just because they have the skills, but because they are able to pay for it.”
There are a lot of people out there who have been working for very long hours, who have gone to university, who are able and willing to take a chance on themselves, but they are not being compensated for it, and they have no choice but to work at a lower wage.
“The survey also found that while workers were earning less in the forest industry, it was still not enough to cover the cost of housing and child care.
According to the study, a single child in the FPIW sector was expected to earn about $US12,000 in the year of 2020, and a family of four in the Paper and Wood industries would earn about an additional $US18,000, with all the costs including transportation, utilities and living expenses.
The paper industry, meanwhile, had an estimated annual wage of about $25,000.”
We need to do something about this,” Dr. Stokes told ABC News.”
I think that there are lots of people who work hard, who