Knowledge is not power, but it’s a start : young people and employment entitlements

Price, Robin A., Bailey, Janis, & McDonald, Paula K. (2010) Knowledge is not power, but it’s a start : young people and employment entitlements. In Barnes, Alison, Balnave, Nikola, & Lafferty, George (Eds.) Proceedings of the 24th Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand Conference – Work in Progress : Crises, Choices and Continuity, Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ), Sydney Trades Hall, Sydney, N. S. W..

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This paper employs empirical evidence from a survey of Queensland secondary school students to examine their knowledge about their wages and working conditions. It does so within the theoretical lens of the Gagne (or Gagne-Briggs) theory of instruction, which centres on the content of learning and how learning is acquired (Gagne, Briggs & Wager, 1988). While Gagne articulates five categories of learning, our focus here is on two; verbal information or declarative knowledge (facts that people can declare), and procedural knowledge (the rules and procedures for achieving outcomes). We show that student workers know little about the instruments governing their employment, or their workplace entitlements. Of the total sample of year 9 and year 11 students surveyed (n=892), those students who worked, or who had worked in the past year (n=438), were asked to identify whether they were employed under an award, collective agreement or AWA. Eighty three per cent of students did not know which industrial instrument set their wages. We argue that if young workers do not have declarative knowledge of their entitlements, nor basic procedural knowledge about redress, then they are not in a position to deploy Gagne’s ‘cognitive strategies’ that would enable them to take action to ensure their working conditions meet legal minima. We advocate that young workers should be given summary information on their wages and other entitlements on appointment and that such summary information should be readily available on employers’ noticeboards and electronically on company websites, and that the information should include a brief summary of avenues for redressing issues of underpayment or sub-standard conditions.

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ID Code: 31737
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The proceedings of this conference can be freely accessed via the publisher's website (see Additional URL)
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Knowledge, Young People , Employment Entitlements
ISBN: 9780980608533
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Industrial Relations (150306)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 please consult the authors
Deposited On: 15 Apr 2010 00:28
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2012 05:30

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