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Tony Jones clashes with ACTU president over unpaid work

Tony Jones

Australian Council of Trade Unions President Michele O’Neil says making people work for free is illegal.

It follows comments from Muffin Break general manager Natalie Brennan, who slammed millennials for not wanting to work unpaid at the start of their careers.

Ms Brennan said there were no longer young people knocking on her door asking for internships.

In a fiery interview with Tony Jones, Ms O’Neil said Australians have “minimum rights” which entitled them to being paid some form of wage.

“They’ve got to get money for the work they do,” she said.

“If you’re not being treated fairly or what you’re entitled to then it’s actually really hard to show initiative.

“If you add insecure work to increasing casual jobs and the fact that we haven’t had wages keeping up with inflation, the idea of a profit-making business crying because they’re not having people work for nothing is disgusting.

“This is just wage theft.”

Tony Jones said it was important for young people to be pro-active when trying to get a foot in the door at a new job, even if it meant initially not being paid.

“I’m all for showing initiative,” he said.

“If someone shows initiative and asks to come shadow me (at work), I think that’s fantastic.”

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Tony Jones