Senate investigation reveals overwhelming reality of precarious work

The Special Senate Committee on Job Security heard appalling testimony this week in Newcastle detailing the extent of the precarious work crisis in that country.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of teachers at NSW TAFE are hired on a casual basis, and none of these casual teachers have received an offer for a permanent position under the Morrison government’s ineffective casual conversion act.

Of the more than 2,300 eligible casual workers at Newcastle University, only a handful have been offered a permanent conversion.

Data collected from 19 universities showed that of all academics hired occasionally, only 2% were considered eligible for a permanent position.

The survey also learned that the largest employer in mining is now a labor hire company – Workpac – and that workers who hire labor are paid 40% less than workers. direct employees.

Coal giant Glencore has admitted that the pay gap between its hired or contract workers and direct employees is as high as $ 30,000 per year (about 30%).

Mining company BHP also revealed that less than a third (29%) of its employees are directly employed.

Quotes attributable to CUTA Secretary Sally McManus:

“The evidence that has accumulated in this investigation only underscores the point we already knew – we must do something about the scourge of precarious work in this country.

“Labor hire companies like Workpac make it all too easy for large companies to evade obligations, such as giving workers paid leave rights and a clear path to permanent work.

“The Morrison government’s Occasional Conversion Act gives too much leeway to the employer to consider a worker ‘not eligible’ for a permanent position.

“Workers embarked on this investigation and gave firsthand accounts of the realities of precarious work. They deserve a government that will act to solve the problem, not to legislate to entrench the crisis. “

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Norman D. Briggs