12 Dec 2012

A Casual Approach To Fair Work

By Malcolm King

The Australian Industry Group is lobbying to make it easier for employers to casualise their workforce. Trouble is, their understanding of flexibility is skewed - and that's bad news for older workers, writes Malcolm King

There is a fox in the henhouse and its name is the Australian Industry Group (AIG).

It bared its fangs recently over workforce flexibility. AIG want Fair Work Australia to allow employers to casualise their workforces.

Over the next 20 years, almost half of the 1.3 million mature age workers currently in full-time work will move, if employers allow, to part-time work. That's good news. Enterprise Bargaining Agreements will change by demand as employers realise that experience provides a competitive advantage.

But we are also witnessing an extraordinarily high proportion of women, young people, older people and migrants working as casuals.

There has been an explosion of independent contractors (such as cleaners) who now make up about 10 per cent of workers. The number of people in non-permanent jobs is about 40 per cent of the workforce — that's four million Australians.

The ABS defines a casual job as a job without paid leave entitlements, but the essence of a casual job is that the worker is entirely expendable on an hour-to-hour, week-to-week, year-to-year basis.

If you're 18 or 55 and struggling to get a job, does it matter if there is no job security, no holiday pay, no carers' leave or no sick pay? Does it matter if doing a job well plays no part in whether you will be hired again?

Recently the chief executive of AIG, Innes Willox, claimed unions had too much say in the review of the Fair Work Act — the body of legislation that protects both workers and employers rights.

Willox warned that the Federal Government's "pro-union approach" could result in more company closures and jobs being sent offshore where, for example, Thai auto-workers are paid $1.20 per hour. The "offshoring" of jobs has got nothing to do with domestic policy settings and Willox knows this.

There is a big distinction between flexibility of workers and flexibility for workers. Some companies treat staff like a commodity. But labour can't be divorced from a worker; workers come attached to the labour they supply. Casuals don't work to a set roster — they work at the beck and call of the employer.

Guy Standing, in his book The Precariat, said that the working poor consists of three main groups — those falling out of working-class jobs and communities, those who accept insecurity because they have never had any, and those who are educated and are experiencing status frustration.

This is the dynamic AIG wants — to impose flexibility on older and younger workers. It dictates, "These are the jobs we have, if you don't like the pay or conditions, good bye".

The hourly rate for casuals in the retail, hospitality, and call centre and aged-care sectors is about $17.20. This includes a loading in lieu of holiday pay, sick pay and long-service leave.

The increased prominence of casuals helps to explain the very high rates of underemployment. Back in February 2012, more than 900,000 Australian workers had insufficient work (531,500 women and 384,800 men) comprising around 8 per cent of the workforce (in addition to an unemployment rate of around 5 per cent).

Factory and call centre casuals do not know from one day to the next whether they will be rostered for the next shift. Most banks will not lend to customers who don't have secure jobs. Casuals generally have miniscule superannuation balances.

It is therefore curious that AIG, which currently manages the $15.6 million Corporate Champions project for the government, should beat the drum for casualisation.

The Corporate Champions project appeals to both employers and employees to consider changing their Enterprise Bargaining Agreements so that older workers can be retained and where possible, work part time. It recognises older workers are a capital asset, not a liability.

It is unusual that valuable Australian Government contracts, which deal with industrial relations and productivity, are placed with an organisation whose expressed ideal for workforce change is antithetical to the Government's desired outcome.

Surely there are business groups which better display the co-operative spirit of economic reform, rather than the old foxes who wait impatiently for a change of Government.

Many older workers and job seekers will find, like their grandchildren, that relying on casual work is chaotic and alienating.

Log in or register to post comments

Discuss this article

To control your subscriptions to discussions you participate in go to your Account Settings preferences and click the Subscriptions tab.

Enter your comments here

Posted Sunday, December 16, 2012 - 05:39

Malcolm King
The problem is that the AIG is just a body of unemployable morrons who started a Union mentality body to become a cash for comment cow.

You said:
"It is therefore curious that AIG, which currently manages the $15.6 million Corporate Champions project for the government, should beat the drum for casualisation."

My say:
Governments are always handing out Contracts to Private Enterprises to prop up business, create business opportunities.

Elsewhere we have written about the social construct that is our ECONOMY, Tax Purse Funded not Tax Payer, because nobody realy Pays Taxes.

1 Nov 2012
How To Feed A Billion Hungry People
By Ben Eltham

Read the entire piece including all the comments and see if you can see the link between this article and the other.

Most Private Enterprise is just a bludge, unemployable morrons who became business people to avoid paying Taxes, by selling some cheap imported garbage to some idiot with too much money only to find everybody is working casualy for the same reason that he/she became a business person and can't afford to buy the garbage because it is garbage that he can't afford because the underemployed Consumer/Worker needs the money to pay for the basics in life.

So now the idiot unemployable so called business man is whinging through this union style body, (Where the few get payed by the many to represent the few to Governments and or departments) because no one has any money to waste on garbage or Sandwiches with a 400% mark up so they want to lower their costs by casualising the work force even further.

The problem, Economists are idiots, the Harvard business model is broken. It was just a Fancy Marilyn Monroe. All Glitz, Glamour, Platex Support Bra's and Panty Girdels, but now that Father time has stripped it down, we find out its just a fat, greedy, vain, junky, GFC.

Allan Greenspan was to the financial World what Marilyn Monroe was to the Movie Industry, a front to hide the excesses, the greed.

Posted Sunday, December 16, 2012 - 06:19

85% of the worlds manufacturing and wealth was in the hands of the big 4.

1860 Britain France America Germany
1900 America Germany Britain France

Thats why we killed 150 million people between 1915 and 1945.

WW1 took out Germany so all of the wealth that used to be in German hands went to the Yanks created the New Empire and led to the excesses of the 1920 which then led to the collapse of the 1930's. Germany was again too strong and was then bombed into oblivion. America made more money out of Manufacturing weapons of mass destruction and haven't stopped either benefitting financialy from wars or starting wars to benefit.

Why? because human population Growth is unsustainable through Consumerism and or creating Bubble Economist based on borrowing money into exsistance to feed Consumerist Bubble economies.

Look at Ireland, they tried to housing Boom their way into financial success. It did not work in the U.S, didn't work in Ireland and only works here because we have high exports of Coal etc. that needs to be turned into Consumerable Goods in the consumer economies around the world who are not consuming because their all unemployed and can't afford to borrow more money into exsistance to aid the consumer bubble economy, now that the rich have taken a lot of cash out of global economies and turned it into Gold, hence forth the high Gold Price and thats why we had to sell our Gold, the world is stuffed.

So who will be 1st to borrow money into exsistance rather then speculate to create cash for the Consumer Bubble Economy that we need to consume the goods made with our Coal etc. to have an Economy in the first place. Constant Loop Theary, its like a Virus only this is the human Virus. A Human Virus Nature can no longer sustain so Economies based on Industrialisation and Consumption have to try.

Only human greed by the few makes it impossible to sustain. The greedy rich take currency out of circulation by turning it to Gold otherwise we would end up with inflation or deflation as too much or not enough currency circulates or is borrowed into exsistance.

Bubbles, based on human thought bubbles, somebody thought it was a good idea bubbles. Greed makes people think, think up bubbles.
Housing Market bubbles, share market bubbles, guessing which bubble is next bubbles. Wealth creation from Tax Purse funded Economy bubbles as in Infastructure created wealth bubbles.

Thought bubbles, to create bubbles, because the human virus lives in a bubble. The Enviroment. The Enviroment, mother Earth just like most good mothers is worked to death and taken for granted, its dying from old age and lack of appriciation, lack of care and its selfish brood will soon die too when she moves on and fails to cook up the next bubble.

So wake up fools, life is not that hard to figure out, you just need to think with that head on top of your shoulders instead of that thing betwen your legs or spend less time on your back looking at your ankles. Dogs created by Gods. God-doG get it, we breed like Dogs, no rhyme or reason just breed to feed Ego Bubbles.