Se­ri­ous push to help ca­sual staff

Big Rigs - - NEWS -

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

PHOTO: KIRSTIN PAYNE

SHIFT­ING GEARS: The Fair Work Com­mis­sion rul­ing will al­low some driv­ers to ask for more se­cure per­ma­nent po­si­tions.

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