none

CASUAL EMPLOYMENT FLEXIBILITY MUST BE RETAINED: AiGROUP

15-03-2016
by 
in 

Union claims about an alleged increased “casualisation” of the workforce are a myth, says Australia’s peak industry body,

The claims are designed to convince the community that there is a problem to increase the chance of their restrictive and inappropriate claims being accepted,” says AiGroup Chief Executive Innes Willox.

The Fair Work Commission is now hearing evidence from a broad range of witnesses in the Casual and Part-time Employment Case.  

“While many different views will be expressed about the benefits of increasing or reducing flexibility to engage casuals, one indisputable fact is that the level of casual employment has not increased in Australia for the past 18 years,” says Mr Willox.  

“ABS statistics show that it remains at 20% of the workforce – the same level as it was in 1998.”

Mr Willox said Ai Group is playing a leading role in representing Australian employers in the case.  

Ai Group’s evidence and submissions in the case would demonstrate that:

·       Patterns of casual employment and award provisions relating to casual employment are very different from industry to industry, and these differences need to be maintained.  Any “one-size-fits-all” approach would be very damaging.

For example, a four hour minimum engagement period for casuals in the construction industry may not be a problem, but it would be crippling in the aged care and community services sectors which provide in-home services for the elderly and sick, and people with disabilities. The evidence shows that businesses that currently provide in-home care would in many cases be unable to continue to provide these services.

·       It is vital that existing casual employment flexibility is retained. Australia needs to increase participation in the workforce.  Maintaining flexibility for employers to engage casuals is critical because hundreds of thousands of employees are not available or do not wish to work on a permanent basis.

·       If the unions’ claims for casuals to have an absolute right to convert to permanent employment were granted, the evidence shows that thousands of casual employees would be terminated.

·       There are a number of overly restrictive existing award provisions in particular industries that need to be addressed.  

For example: The award that applies to the fast food industry contains a minimum engagement period of three hours for casuals, even though the evidence shows that many young people would like the option of working a two hour shift.

·       Casuals cannot currently be employed in production and maintenance roles under the award that applies in the black coal mining industry, even though there are a large number of casuals employed in the industry under enterprise agreements.

·       Part-time employment is prohibited under the award that applies to long distance truck drivers, and there is no good reason for this.

“Few casuals are union members and this is perhaps the reason why the unions are so hell-bent on demonising casual employment. Their job destroying claims are not in the interests of employers, employees or the community,” Mr Willox said.

Related news & editorials

  1. 23.04.2018
    23.04.2018
    by      In
    Sidewood Estate has put the finishing touches on it $4 million winery expansion in the South Australian town of Nairne, which includes one of the most technologically advanced bottling lines in the Adelaide Hills region.
    The bottling line can fill and label up to 3000 bottles per hour with an... Read More
  2. 23.04.2018
    23.04.2018
    by      In
    BAE Systems has formalised a deal to source almost 50,000 tonnes of Australian steel to build Future Frigates for the SEA 5000 programme, should it win the tendering process. 
    Under the agreement, Bluescope Steel and Liberty OneSteel will provide steel components for BAE's Global Combat Ship-... Read More
  3. 23.04.2018
    23.04.2018
    by      In
    Melbourne-based packaging giant Visy is aiming to rapidly increase its investments in automation, with the end goal of having a fully automated factory. 
    “We have a vision which I call the ‘lights out’ factory - a fully automated box factory that operates in the dark because robots don’t need... Read More
  4. 23.04.2018
    23.04.2018
    by      In
    With international electric vehicles failing to make an impression on the Australian market, a local manufacturer has stepped up to the plate to provide some much-needed competition. 
    ACE Electric Vehicles is planning to produce Australian-manufacturered electric cars, with the goal of releasing... Read More