We just presented Sarina Russo with the inaugural ‘Golden Demerit’ certificate of suffering for his services toward the deprivation of unemployed workers’ dignity!
Here is AUWU President Owen Bennett handing over the prestigious gong to Sarina Russo’s Victorian Manager Adrian Jenkins at yesterdays ‘award ceremony’. Video to come shortly!
Due to the hard work of Adrian and his team, the majority of AUWU members who called our hotline over the last month ‘nominated’ Sarina Russo for the Golden Demerit Certificate of Suffering.
How to Nominate
If you missed your opportunity to vote in last month’s Golden Demerit, don’t worry – the voting for October’s Golden Demerit is now open.
You can nominate your job agency by telling your story on the AUWU forum here.
Support the Campaign
The AUWU is a volunteer organisation run by the unemployed for the unemployed with no paid staff or political affiliations. To help the AUWU continue the work it is doing, we would greatly appreciate a donation through our website here. No amount is too small.
Golden Demerit Profile: Sarina Russo
A lot of people come to the AUWU for help with their difficult jobactive / DES agencies through our advocacy hotline and we keep tabs on which ones we hear about the most. In 2018-19, private job agencies like Sarina Russo processed 2.3 million payment suspensions. According to the Guardian, one in five are later found to be incorrect.
Sarina Russo wins the prize for the most dishonourable mentions (well, actually it was a close tie between Sarina Russo and Max Employment and Sarina wins the coin toss). Sarina Russo represented 13% of cases we dealt with on the advocacy line. The agency is currently celebrating 40 years of operation, which means 40 years of making millions on government contracts to be the parole officers of the unemployed.
The way the job agency system is set up, private agencies are incentivized to punish for profit. Some agencies take this to extreme lengths. The JobActive and Disability Employment Service agencies have at their fingertips the ability to cut people off Newstart – effectively forcing people into dire poverty and potential homelessness. There is no oversight by the government, and unemployed workers have no right of appeal.
With the flick of a button they like to send people into financial panic – too many times this is because of a mistake made by the agency or because the claimant didn’t meet some absurd expectations of ‘compliance’. These agencies make enormous profits from government contracts, for example Sarina Russo’s 2015-2020 contract is worth $606M. For all that money they do very little when it comes to genuinely helping people find suitable work – its money wasted on a bureaucratic wormhole of meaningless activities that we’re forced to participate in. We can’t let them get away with this anymore. Let’s make an example of the worst offenders. They exploit us, bully us, force us into poverty and bore us to death but together we can shut them down!
Data from our hotline:
38% of complaints on our advocacy line were due to a failure to provide basic services
36% were about Job agency bullying
94.2% reported that job agencies had not explained their rights to job seekers.
Very Common problems with Sarina Russo include:
Bullying from staff
Being forced to attend a ridiculous amount of appointments or activities
Basic privacy not being respected
Being unfairly forced into work for the dole
Being denied reasonable notice for appointments and activities
Medical conditions not being recognised.