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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 29 August 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 29 AUGUST 2015 9 NEWS Kastellorizian treasures a hit ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS Those interested in the vibrant history of Kastellorizo were delighted to find a number of stunning artefacts on display at the Kastellorizian Association of Victoria's clubrooms earlier this month. ‘Treasures from Kastellorizo, From the Cabinets of the Memory Keepers’, curated by Connie Gregory, was an exhibition held over two days showcasing costumes and jewellery, along with embroidery and household items passed down through generations. "The work involved in putting the display together was hugely rewarded by the evident enjoyment of all those who attended," Mrs Gregory told Neos Kosmos. Researcher and co-author of An Island in Time, Nick Bogiatzis, presented a lecture on Kastellorizian jewellery and artefacts, while many attendees brought along their own personal possessions for discussion. "Mr Bogiatzis spoke for oneand-a-half hours to an attentive audience who would happily have stayed on for much longer, as he was such a charismatic and knowledgeable speaker," said Mrs Gregory. "He also brought along a large and startling image of the island of Kastellorizo, taken from a plane about to bomb the island in 1943." President of the Kastellorizian Association Dr Nick Lolatgis said he was heartened by the number of young people who attended the event. "The level of interest amongst Kastellorizians in learning more about their heirlooms bodes well for the continued preservation of their treasures," said Dr Lolatgis. The event was recorded on video from start to finish and will be made available through the association's archives. Sunday pay slash A campaign to cut doubletime could hurt many relying on weekend jobs NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU PANOS APOSTOLOU The Productivity Commission's recommendation to cut double-time pay on Sundays could see many retail and hospitality workers lose as much as half their income. Sunday penalty rates that aren't included as overtime or shift work could be set at Saturday rates for hospitality, entertainment, retail, restaurants and cafes. Curator of the exhibition Connie Gregory (L) and researcher Nicholas Bogiatzis. The proposal has been slammed by the ACTU, Greens and Labor, saying the measure is a wage cut for the lowest paid workers in the country. Neos Kosmos spoke to some of those at the sharp end of the issue. Sia Psicharis, a Melbourne beauty salon owner, believes that such decisions work best when three important factors are considered at once: staff, business and clients. "We pay workers double, but we can't charge the client twice, leaving no room for the business to absorb such a cost, especially with the rise of online discounting service coupons." "We're better off not doing treatments on Sunday be- cause we simply can't afford it," she adds. Sofia Karambetsos, who manages a nut shop, agrees with the pay being on one level throughout the whole week except for public holidays. "We have worked Sundays all our business life and we pay a flat rate, which is above award rates," she tells Neos Kosmos. "It has become the norm to work on Sunday within the hospitality industry. It's part of the Australian culture." However, barista Andreas Andriakopoulos disagrees with the proposal. For him, living in a progressive society means the state has to take good care of its weakest citizens. "Employees who have to work on Sundays spend this day away from their families, which is why I think the existing penalties should not be abolished." Meanwhile, the commission suggests making temporary changes to the minimum wage and rewards to be reviewed only when necessary rather than every four years. "I spent five years without a raise at a previous job, whilst assuming more and more responsibilities," says Roula Pappas, who now works as a A kitchen worker at Samudra in Dunsborough, WA. PHOTO: AAP/YVETTE KELLY. store manager. "There are many cafes and clothing store owners who won't go that extra mile to reward their hard-working employees if they are not compelled to by the law." For students like Yolantha Crayes, who are only permitted to work 20 hours a week, penalty rates are a big help. "My family doesn't have the means to support me and I rely on weekend pay rates to pay my bills," she says. The report also proposes amending unfair dismissal laws, ensuring employees can receive compensation only where there is no evidence of underperformance or misconduct. Petra Katrakis, recentlyarrived from Greece, is bemused by the many cases of migrant exploitation she has come across during her two years in Australia. "I've seen bosses promising to hire desperate people, give them some cash in hand the first week, stall their payments and fire them within a month. "People wanting to avoid compensation and giving raises could easily claim an employee isn't reliable," she adds. The Productivity Commission has also recommended allocating more resources for the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate employers suspected of underpaying migrant workers. Kitchen worker Mario Petrou says it's about time. "Do you know how many migrants like myself are being paid $6 an hour just because 'this is what we'd get back where we came from’?” Productivity Commission Chair Peter Harris last addressed the committee on Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) on 14 August. His draft recommendations are still out for consultation. Religious studies removed from Victorian curriculum Schools offering Greek Orthodox teaching to be affected ZOE THOMAÚDOU Victoria's schools are facing changes to the curriculum following the Victorian government's decision to take Special Religious Instruction (SRI) out of regular class time. Under the new ruling, the 30-minute weekly SRI spot will be filled by 'building respectful relationships' content, focusing on world history, the understanding of different cultures and domestic violence prevention. According to last week's announcement, the new program will be compulsory for primary and secondary school students. Over the last year, enrolments in SRI classes dropped by 42 per cent, after the government moved from an 'opt out' policy to requiring parents to 'opt in' if they wanted their children to attend SRI. "You can't have 20 per cent of school kids undertaking special religious education, while the other children are not getting teaching or learning, during precious curriculum time," Education Minister for Victoria James Merlino told the ABC. Daniel Bellis, coordinator of the archdiocese's SRI program in Victoria, has said the government's decision is "a significant blow to the viability of the [archdiocese's] program." Across Melbourne 15 state schools currently have a Greek Orthodox instructor and the program is facilitated to schools under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. "While the domestic violence and respectful relationships program is of the utmost importance, SRI is also valid and important, and room should be made within the curriculum and within class time," Mr Bellis told Neos Kosmos. Asked about reactions of parents to the change, he said that he has received a number of phone calls and emails from people being distressed and disappointed that the religious instruction will be scrapped from regular class hours. From the start of the 2016 school year, students wishing to attend SRI classes will have to sign up for sessions either before or after school hours or during lunch time. Father Christos Dimolianis, chaplain of the Greek Orthodox St John's College, said the situation would cause inconvenience to many parents and might deter students from enrolling. "Some would find it rough to get there before school hours, while during lunch time it could seem to the children as a detention; that they miss out on their break while the other children are outside playing." As a private school run and owned by the Greek Orthodox Victorian Education Minister James Merlino. PHOTO: AAP IMAGE/GLENN HUNT. Archdiocese, St John's College is not affected by the new measures. As part of the curriculum from prep to Year 12, students may attend a religious education program focusing on the Orthodox perspective, but which also explores aspects of other religious thought. Father Dimolianis said the main complaint expressed by parents in relation to SRI was that the children opting out of religious instruction were not enjoying quality class time. "If parents would like their children to have religious instruction they should be able to have it somehow, somewhere."
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