SDA goes social for young workers rights

SDA100PayThe SDA is launching a new social media campaign aimed at teaching young workers about their rights.

SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said the new recruitment drive would be rolled out over Snapchat, Instagram and, to a lesser degree, Facebook.

The union hopes the campaign will provide accessible and straightforward information to workers with limited knowledge of their workplace rights and the union movement.

“It’s safe to say that a large number of young people barely know unions exist, let alone how they can help, or why they should join one,” said Dwyer.

Research from the University of Sydney found that 25 per cent of student retail workers were being underpaid, and 35 per cent were not receiving the correct weekend rates.

“We decided to take a ‘back to basics’ approach, providing simple, easy to understand information about workplace rights, what unions are and what do they do?,” Dwyer said.

The SDA has come under pressure in recent years amid the foundation of the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU), which has been publicly critical of it and has sought to develop its own membership base, targeting younger workers.

Dwyer said that in addition to the videos which will be pushed over several social media platforms, the SDA has created a young worker hub called ‘100% Pay’ to fulfil a similar role; providing reliable information on workplace rights and how the union could assist.

“We developed 100 per cent pay as a place where young retail and fast food workers can go for simple and clear information about their basic rights at work,” said Dwyer.

“To get them started, we’ve provided a quick quiz on their six basic rights at work. If a young worker finds they are not receiving what they’re entitled to, they can get in contact with the union.”

This focus on young workers is consistent with the Australian Council of Trade Unions drive to recruit and assist young workers, which is to be discussed at the ACTU triennial congress in Brisbane next week.

The push comes a day after cosmetics retailer Lush announced it was unintentionally underpaying its staff over a period of eight years; dating back to the introduction of the Modern Awards in 2010, due to a payroll system error.

“We are sincerely sorry for letting our staff down so badly,” said Peta Granger, Director at Lush, “I am so sorry. We’re doing everything within our power to pay back the money that we owe to staff as quickly and as transparently as possible.”

While there had been complaints by staff about payment issues, they were largely focused on human error, and made it difficult to spot an overarching issue.

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