6 months and you’re permanent!
In the past month the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has been conducting an inquiry into casual work. The aim of the inquiry was to collect information from workers, unions, community groups and academics about the conditions of casual, temporary and contracted workers.
It looks at which types of workers fall into the insecure work category, the effects it has on people’s lives, their families and the community as a whole. It also looks at the wide range of entitlements these workers are missing out on.
Around 40% of the entire workforce is employed on an insecure basis. This figure continues to rise by the day. Compared to other advanced countries, the percentage of population employed on an insecure basis is second only to Spain.
For many young workers insecure work is not a choice – it’s all they can get. More than 60% of young people are employed as casuals.
Bosses employ workers on an insecure basis because it is cheaper and easier for them to fire people. Workers who are not full time or part time employees miss out on entitlements such as sick pay, holiday pay and some overtime pay. Most importantly there is no entitlement to ongoing employment and hours are unpredictable. This creates untold pressure and stress on people’s lives.
While the ACTU’s inquiry will hopefully go some way towards highlighting the issue, what we really need is action. The union movement needs to come together to organise an active campaign to put an end to insecure work. It should be a basic human right that people are afforded a decent secure job in order to live.
The ACTU should be organising to ensure all unions are fighting for clauses in workplace agreements which give people the right to permanent after 3-6 months. Alongside decent pay increases this should be a non-negotiable demand.
Obviously employers would fight against this but if we stand united and support those workers who are taking industrial action against casualisation we can win improvements to our working conditions!
If you are a casual worker in the fast food, retail or hospitality industries, join UNITE today and join the fight back!