Serious push to help casual staff
THE battle against workforce casualisation in the transport industry is heating up, with casual workers now given the option of converting to full-time or part-time work following a Fair Work Commission ruling.
This month the commission introduced a model casual conversion clause into those 85 modern awards that currently do not have one.
It means casual staff working on a long-term regular basis must be provided with the option to convert to permanent employment after 12 months, news that will come as some relief to many who are caught in a never-ending cycle of casual shifts.
This decision aims to minimise the insecure workforce, which includes those on rolling contracts, casual employment and employees that have been pressured to get their own ABN.
The change is yet to hit all awards in the transport industry, with the commission proposing that a new model casual conversion clause be introduced for the Road Transport (Long distance Operations) Award 2010 and the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010.
However, an employer may refuse the request on reasonable grounds after there has been consultation.
ACTU secretary Sally McMannis has labelled this a win for the worker.
“Too many employers have been abusing the term ‘casual’ and use it as a business model to drive down wages. The decision is the first small step towards addressing the crisis of insecure work,” she said.
While pleased with the outcome, TWU NSW state secretary Richard Olsen asked if the ruling went far enough for drivers.
“It’s a good start, providing to other industries provisions in their awards that match what the transport industry already has in the Road Transport and Distribution Award,” Mr Olsen said.
“There is still a problem that the FWC ruling does not address, those that are in our industry and others being exploited as labour hire workers. Part-time workers who are looking to move to full-time are not helped either.”
❝ Too many employers have been abusing the term ‘casual’ and use it as a business model to drive down wages.
— Sally McMannis, ACTU
SHIFTING GEARS: The Fair Work Commission ruling will allow some drivers to ask for more secure permanent positions.