The ACTU has launched a ‘renewed push’ to give casuals the right to convert to permanent status. After decades of silence, a widely-publicised 2012 ACTU “campaign was…sidelined as the ACTU focussed on other priorities” – a pro-ALP election campaign. With upwards of 40% of Australian workers in insecure jobs action on this issue is long overdue.
Insecure work causes enormous social and economic stresses. Casual workers are denied holiday and sick pay, job security, and work during ‘down times’. This makes casuals a cheaper option for employers, even when wage loading is applied.
Casualisation has helped shift income away from workers, with at least an extra 10% of national income distributed to bosses since the early 1980s. Working irregular shifts makes organising more difficult and firing people easier.
For any campaign against casualisation to be successful, more than just awareness raising will be required. Industrial action will need to be organised with the ACTU working to mobilise widespread support across sectors.
If a fraction of the resources wasted on supporting the ALP was spent on campaigning against casulaisation, we could provide job security to all union members in a matter of no time.
By W. van Leeuwen