Australian apprenticeships are rife with exploitation, and young workers are particularly vulnerable to wage theft and unsafe conditions.
Recently, the Young Workers Centre was called in to assist a young electrical apprentice, Gabe*, who was owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and superannuation. Gabe had also experienced frequent racial abuse from his employer.
The Young Workers Centre legal service supports young workers to learn their workplace rights, and provides one-off legal support whilst directing young people to their union for support in future workplace disputes.
With the support of the Young Workers Centre, Gabe successfully settled the dispute with his former employer, winning over $16,000 in stolen wages and superannuation.
With the money hitting Gabe's account this week, he is in a much better position to continue his apprenticeship & career, in a workplace where he can feel safe and supported.
In a similar incident last week, a builder's labourer working near Bendigo was able to reclaim $9,000 in unpaid wages after his employer dodged his calls and blocked his number. Congratulations to both workers and to the young legal guns in the Young Workers Centre, building up young workers' knowledge and taking down bad bosses.
*Not the worker’s real name.