Abuse of apprentices claimed

TASMANIAN apprentices are working unsupervised, not being paid properly and in some cases being assaulted in their workplaces, according to unions.

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union met Skills Tasmania on Tuesday over concerns that apprentices were being treated poorly, after intervening in an illegal sacking.

Every day we experience cases of apprentices working unsupervised, not being provided with training, being forced to work for free, not being paid properly, and in extreme cases we are finding apprentices whose employers think it is acceptable to physically assault their apprentices and even sack them for getting hurt at work. - Michael Anderson

CEPU state organiser Michael Anderson said the union was calling on the government to provide more support and resources for Skills Tasmania to help apprentices following an increase in complaints by members over employers engaging in unlawful conduct and abuse of apprentices.

"The union is dealing with an unacceptable number of cases where apprentices are being abused in their workplaces," Mr Anderson said.

"Every day we experience cases of apprentices working unsupervised, not being provided with training, being forced to work for free, not being paid properly, and in extreme cases we are finding apprentices whose employers think it is acceptable to physically assault their apprentices and even sack them for getting hurt at work.

"Apprentices are the future of our industry. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect."

An opposition spokesman said reports of the ill-treatment of apprentices were "extremely concerning" and the government should take appropriate action.

"It is unacceptable for anyone to be treated this way in the workplace, particularly apprentices who may be vulnerable as they start out on their working life," the spokesman said.

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