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Australians workers offer to work for $4 per hour through job bidding websites

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 545445
Australia
02/14/2009 05:14 AM
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Australians workers offer to work for $4 per hour through job bidding websites
Australian workers offer to work for $4 an hour through job bidding websites

By Emma Kemp

NEWS.com.au

February 14, 2009 07:41am

Online job bidding
'Sweatshops' ... Australian workers are bidding for jobs for as little as $4 an hour.

* Websites employ via eBay-like bidding system
* Aussies working for as little as $4 an hour
* Sites labelled "digital sweatshops"

AUSTRALIANS are offering their skills for as little as $4 an hour on websites that let them compete against each other for work in an eBay-like bidding system.

Workers anxious to secure work during the global economic downturn are turning to websites such as Elance and iFreelance, where the lowest wage gets the gig.

Blogging critics have dubbed the sites “digital sweatshops” that take advantage of stressed-out workers who resort to menial jobs at terrible rates.

With the unemployment rate expected to jump to 7 per cent next year, Australians are putting their skills forward for pay well below the minimum wage of $14.31 per hour, with one person asking for just $4 an hour for a writing and translation job.

Australian workers earned $283,000 on employment website Elance in 2008, an 8 per cent increase from 2007.

Sharan Burrow, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), said she was concerned some employers would use the economic downturn to cut pay and conditions.

“Australian workers should carefully check whether jobs advertised on these websites pay the legal minimum rates if the job is based in Australia,” Ms Burrow said.

Australian employers are also turning to the virtual job market to find cheap employees: 1484 Australia-based accounts have hired an elancer in the past six months.

Australian bosses paid $US898,000 to online employees in 2008, up 44 per cent from $US624,000 in 2007.

Chief marketing officer at Elance Brad Porteus said the financial crisis had directly contributed to the increase in Australian users of the site.

“The macro-economic environment has certainly fuelled what has been a steady growth trend, as people become increasingly willing to explore this new way of working,” Mr Porteus said.

“The internet has evolved technically in ways that has made remote work a feasible possibility.”

There are currently approximately 1300 active service providers on Elance based in Australia, making it the fifth biggest country on Elance regarding visitors per month, behind the US, India, the UK and Canada, according to independent reporting from Quantcast.

And the competitive nature of the online workforce means those people who live in geographically more expensive parts of the world are outdone by others who can get by on a lower salary. Applicants on the iFreelance website from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka are asking for salaries as low as $2 per hour, while their counterparts from the US and the UK are posting minimum wages of between about $40 and $150 per hour.

The latest site to jump on the virtual workplace bandwagon is Jobophiles, set up by young Boston locals 2008 who had a vision of a “student labour yellow pages”.

Directed towards students, the site mostly offers part-time positions that range from computer programming and engineering to fitness training and babysitting.

Wow, the minimum wage here is $10 per hour and people are willing to work for four bucks.
And so it begins.......
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 545445
Australia
02/14/2009 05:15 AM
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Re: Australians workers offer to work for $4 per hour through job bidding websites
Here's the link....

[link to www.news.com.au]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 611647
Australia
02/14/2009 05:20 AM
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Re: Australians workers offer to work for $4 per hour through job bidding websites
I would be curious to know the legality of this if it was challenged at court, the employer may be forced to pay back pay. Even industrial awards need to be approved if it is to pay the employee at below minimum rate. Curious and curiouser.
Chameleon

User ID: 613078
Australia
02/14/2009 05:30 AM
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Re: Australians workers offer to work for $4 per hour through job bidding websites
$4 an hour? pfft! you'd get more on centerlink benefits!
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 608742
Australia
02/14/2009 05:34 AM
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Re: Australians workers offer to work for $4 per hour through job bidding websites
$4 an hour? pfft! you'd get more on cemterlink benefits!
 Quoting: Chameleon

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