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Issue #1660      October 15, 2014

Permanent work a right

“Together we can stop insecure work” was the catch cry of World Day for Decent Work (WDDW) which saw over one million people join together on the day of global action on social media. The successful social media event was organised by IndustriALL Global Unions who represent millions of workers from over 140 countries. The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is an affiliate union to IndustriALL.

To coincide with this global day of protest against insecure jobs, Ged Kearney, president of the ACTU launched a campaign attacking the ever increasing casualisation of Australia’s workforce. Next month the ACTU is preparing to lodge a claim with the Fair Work Commission to have a clause entered into the modern awards that will allow casual employees to become permanent.

The ACTU submission would not apply to genuine casuals such as students working irregular shifts in bars or restaurants – instead its main focus would be on some of the 2.2 million people who are permanent workers in every way except by name.

Kearney said it was “unfair that casual employees who worked regular shifts and rosters missed out on sick leave and annual holidays”.

Kearney responded to criticism about the costs to employers saying that “employers already pay casual workers a loading to make up for them not having sick or holiday pay – so making people permanent will simply give workers those entitlements at no extra cost.”

Australia’s 2.2 million casual workers, who made up 19 percent of the workforce, were not just “tools for employers.” Ms Kearney said, “The insecurity of their work makes it difficult to get bank loans, rent properties and access other employment opportunities.”

The AMWU is supporting this important reform with AMWU national secretary, Paul Bastian stating that the reform is “long overdue and too many Australian workers have suffered as a consequence of not having the security that permanent work gives.”

Mr Bastian also criticised opponents saying that “Institutions needed to keep pace with the rapidly evolving workforce and economy.”

Next article – Nauru protests continue

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