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Unions win battle against workforce ‘casualisation’

July 10, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The travel, tourism and transport industries, which employ many casual and part-time employees, are bracing for the impact of a Fair Work Commission (FWC) ruling last week that casual workers who work on a long-term regular basis must be provided with the option to convert to permanent employment.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said Australian unions had won a first battle in the fight against “the epidemic of casualisation”.

She said 40% of the Australian workforce was now in insecure work.

“A generation of young people have never known a job with a paid sick day or other basic entitlements. The rules at work are broken.”

Unions have identified four forms of insecure work:

  • Rolling contracts
  • Labour hire
  • Casual employment
  • Forcing employees to get ABNs

“Australian Unions fought for this improvement but it only plugs one small hole in a nationwide crisis,” McManus said.

“Casual workers earn less wages and lower superannuation. Women are more often in casual employment than men, and casualisation contributes to the gender pay gap.

“Too many employers have been abusing the term casual, and use it as a business model to drive down wages.

“Today’s decision is the first small step towards addressing the crisis of insecure work and casualisation in Australia’s workforce.

“While the Commission accepted the ACTU’s argument around the impact casualisation has on people’s lives, it is unable to address the bigger problem. We need political action to achieve that.

“Business too often organises its workforce and its capital to avoid the protections that were supposed to be there for working people. This decision deals with just one of the forms of casualisation that have prevented modern workplaces keeping pace with modern life.”

“Working people with long term regular patterns of work that have been trapped in insecure, casual work contracts can now request permanent positions, but only after 12 months.”

“Permanent positions allow people to plan for the future, to get loans, to budget, and to have a decent quality of living.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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