As we enjoy the summer break this year many of us will beholidaying with friends and family, sharing Christmas lunch with our loved ones or finally opening those books we haven’t found time to read throughout the work year. But there are many workers who will have a very different Christmas experience this year.

At least they knew where their next pay was coming from…

Will Dai, a member of the National Union of Workers, works as a pick and packer in the warehouse industry but hasn’t had work in weeks.

He says he just wants a fulltime job but all he can get is casual work through labour hire agencies. Will is living off savings that will only last two more months.

Will says he wants a job that feels secure, but in his world a labour hire agency sends a text on the weekend if he has any work the next week.

He says it’s a nervous wait, hoping to get that text. Casual workers like Will are more likely to spend the summer worrying about how they will pay their rent than being able to take a family holiday.

While we often hear words like flexibility or freedom used to describe the benefits of casual work, what is rarely mentioned is the impact insecure work has on people.

On our sons and daughters, our siblings, our friends and their families. Eighty per cent of casual workers surveyed by the NUW said they would prefer permanent work. For them casual work is stressful, it makes it tough to pay bills and support families.

The dramatic rise in casual employment in Australia is now also beginning to affect permanent employees. We are seeing more and more instances of employers contracting out their entire workforce to third party logistics companies leading to a reduction in pay and conditions for workers who perform the same work.

Permanent workers at some NUW sites have told us they have safety fears for casual and permanent workers alike when labour hire casuals are just expected to step into a position without adequate training.

With up to 40% of all workers now engaged in insecure work with few rights, there is a clear trend emerging and the legitimate rights of all workers are now being challenged.

Traditionally our union has organised amongst permanent full-time workers. We have been slow to represent casual workers and understand the threats that their lack of work rights poses to permanent employees. That’s why we launched our campaign, Jobs You Can Count On.

We have spent much of our time this past year working on this campaign and working on uniting casual and permanent workers across hundreds of our sites to support each other’s right to safe and secure work.

This Holiday, think about Australia’s casual workers who don’t have the opportunity to take part in this year’s festive season. William Dai has a simple wish, a secure job he can count on.

Comments on this post will close at 6pm AEDT.

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58 comments

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    • Tim says:

      06:06am | 04/01/13

      I can see from an business viewpoint, it makes sense to have casuals because you can dump them in a down turn, or if they hurt their back (believe me it happens) .  But what I really hate, is you get treated like a second class citizen with little respect,  many factories and businesses would go broke if it wasn’t for casual’s due to idle labour, but from my experience, we get bullied, and have poorer conditions than the full timers.  Really, I hate it and can’t see why full timers have rights others worker don’t have.  It’s like we have created different classes in this society.  Governments love it because the can make statistics look good.

    • Dog eat dog says:

      08:20am | 04/01/13

      The only right a full timer has is they can screw the boss because unfair dismissal laws protect them.
      The employer generally doesn’t have the time or money to dump the dud permanent without a fight and so often these workers will screw the casual worker over by giving them the worst parts of the job.

    • Borderer says:

      08:58am | 04/01/13

      I quit full time work for casual contracting, some how getting paid more for less work seemed appealing (60+ hour weeks when fulltime).
      Sure there was underling concerns about regular income but seriously being working poor and working all the time was much worse.
      I eventually found good full time work that rewards extra effort.

    • Full-timer says:

      10:56am | 04/01/13

      I did IT contracting for while because the hourly rates looked good on paper however contracting terms do not really work well with having a family - you only get paid for the hours you work so no annual leave nor carer’s leave (sick leave) etc. It;s tough particularly in winter when there is more sickness; a full-time job with good conditions is the way to go.

    • Bananabender56 says:

      06:47am | 04/01/13

      Maybe changing industry would help? I think that the days of secure employment is long gone and regardless of your skills and experience, unless you have tenure in teaching, your position is at risk.
      I can’t see how you can create a guaranteed job for life - certainly no private enterprise could supply it.

    • Steve says:

      06:52am | 04/01/13

      Labor and the unions have waged a hate campaign against business for years now, they have stacked Fairwork with their “mates”, why would any smart business operator put on new employees with the unions and Labor in charge.  Look at the Craig Thompson saga if you think the unions really give a stuff about workers.

    • acotrel says:

      07:27am | 04/01/13

      I just heard a comment on the ABC r adio that many women have been earning $5000 dollars less than men doing the same work.  The claim was made that people have the right to know the salaries of the others working around them.  I can remembe being specifically told by one employer not to reveal my salary to other staff, however I suggest the lack of transparency is dangerous.

      When Howard and Costello took over government from Keating, the competition issue as still unresolved, and it was not continued to be pursued by the Liberal Party .  Commitment to ‘continual improvement’ was a priority in many companies, and in fact Howard even attempted to use the coercive Workchoices to destroy an essential component - industrial democracy.  Working with unions is not rocket science - all that is needed is a fair deal all round. Unless we change away from our adversarial nature we will never be able to compete satisfactorily in our globalised free market, and we will all eventually end up out of work.

    • Sundress in Sydney says:

      08:45am | 04/01/13

      @actorel, I don’t agree with you about revealing wages.  I can see no good reason for this.  Either you are getting paid less than your colleague, and you get annoyed, or are getting paid more and they get annoyed.  Where I work we negotiate our own pays with our bosses.  Whatever skills I have are what I use to secure a pay rise.  Why should we all be paid the same? Why shouldn’t someone be rewarded for having bettered themselves, or simply for working in a more productive manner, be paid more than a clock watcher? And why should that same person have to worry about the envy and spite that always seems to come from the non-productive? It is these time wasters that snipe and carry on about equal pay without actually being willing to do equal work. I get paid well because I am worth it, but my weekly pay packet is my business.
      As for industrial democracy, it is something that I personally have not seen to my advantage.  Now, I am not saying it does not happen, I am simply relating my experience.  I was a union member for quite a few years (mandatory). During this time I was forced to go on strike for a cause I did not believe in on several occasions.  The paltry pay rise received was completely wiped out by lost wages.  There was no blind ballot so essentially you towed the party line or be bullied by the other members. Our union did not discuss things with management, they simply withheld labour.  It was absolute blackmail.  To make it worse, the very organizers making us go on strike and lose pay were salaried so in fact were not losing a day’s pay.  Blah to that!

    • PsychoHyena says:

      03:09pm | 04/01/13

      @Sundress, I agree, we have collective bargaining where I work, all of us receive the same pay depending on what department we’re in. But in situations like yours, it is so easy if one person is getting less pay but doing more work than someone getting more pay but doing less work (everything else being equal of course) for the person getting less pay to become resentful.

    • derro from derroville says:

      04:28pm | 04/01/13

      Do you really believe women get 5000 less just because they’re women? I can’t believe anyone can believe that. If it were true, as an employer I would only hire women because they’re cheaper based on your logic….don’t trust everything you see and hear

    • Audra Blue says:

      04:57pm | 04/01/13

      Only in the public service are wages transparent (due to everyone knowing everyone else’s grade) and even then it causes friction.  I’ve never been comfortable with others knowing my wage so I never say anything.  I also don’t care how much someone else is getting paid.

      I’ve never had a job where wage transparency is encouraged.  In fact, all of my previous employers have cautioned me not to say anything, especially if I’ve been the one getting more money than those around me.

      What you are paid is only the business of your employer and yourself.

    • I hate pies says:

      07:40am | 04/01/13

      The irony is that the unions, and in particular, their bosses like yourself, are the people that are driving businesses toward using casual workers with your excessive wage demands and threats. That and your government’s IR laws. Congratulations, you’ve really represented your members well.

    • acotrel says:

      08:48am | 04/01/13

      I suggest the biggest negative influence, the one that sends many businesses offshore are our OHS laws.  Why would anyone do the job right first time when they can go offshore and exploit the ignorant ?

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:46am | 04/01/13

      If you want a better job then get the skills, experience and qualifications necessary to earn it

      If all you do is mindless manual labour or simplistic processing then you don’t have much to offer and aren’t very valuable. Your job could be done by a trained monkey. An employer is not responsible for ensuring you have a comfortable lifestyle. Their job is the bottom line. If you’re just a small cog in a big machine then you are replaceable and it is incumbent on the employer to get the best return at cheapest cost

      If you want more out of life then endure you have in-demand skills that command a premium and can add value in the job market

    • acotrel says:

      08:44am | 04/01/13

      ‘If you want a better job then get the skills, experience and qualifications necessary to earn it’

      If you are over 45 those things can act as a deterrent.  No manager will employ somebody who is obviously better than themself.

    • Fed Up says:

      09:01am | 04/01/13

      A trained monkey?
      Really?
      Doh….my self esteem just plumeted.
      I need skills!
      I need to dump my 2 jobs and my family and gets sum educations.
      No frickin monkey is going to take my job :(

    • Tubesteak says:

      11:06am | 04/01/13

      acotrel
      If you were better than them then you’d be doing their job. Something you’d been ruthlessly working towards your entire life

      Fed Up
      Now you’re on the right path. Good luck

    • BrianB says:

      12:38pm | 04/01/13

      “No manager will employ somebody who is obviously better than themself.” Rather odd statement Acotrel.

      Most people don’t, and can’t be expected to possess all of the skills to run or oversee all sections of a business venture and need to employ specialists, or contract out to those who do eg accounting or IT.

    • Bill of Queensland says:

      08:10am | 04/01/13

      A secure job is an illusion! Jobs and salaries are subject to the global laws of supply and demand. Organizations rely on systems rather than people. In the past long term employees possessed in their memories much of the knowledge now in computer systems. Experience in the company is therefore often not valued as highly as NEW experience gained in other companies. Many of the entry level jobs have become redundant with the introduction of computers which have flattened the administration and management hierarchies. Career paths progressing from assistant clerk to clerk to assistant officer to officer to supervisor to assistant manager to manager no longer exist. Many entry level jobs have been outsourced to low-wage countries and many head-office operations are not located in Australia.  Advice to this generation. Manage your own career path! Invest in your qualifications and complement these with a broad range of experience. Ten years’ experience is preferable to ten times one years’ experience.

    • Bitten says:

      08:11am | 04/01/13

      “We are seeing more and more instances of employers contracting out their entire workforce to third party logistics companies leading to a reduction in pay and conditions for workers who perform the same work.”

      What’s this? Larger companies are changing the way they employ people due to business conditions and the fact that unions made employing anyone in Australia more expensive than other viable options? Yeah, that sounds about right - actions lead to consequences. Don’t you change the way you allocate your spending in your household budget if something gets more expensive? Thought so.

      “This Holiday, think about Australia’s casual workers who don’t have the opportunity to take part in this year’s festive season. “

      *dry-retches*

      Yes, as much as I’m sure you’ll be thinking of all the small business owners who cannot take any leave over Christmas because firstly, you can’t trust any employee to not rip your place off while you’re away, and secondly the only way to be able to afford to open on weekends or public holidays is to do it yourself and not get paid because of ridiculous penalty rates you’d have to pay your ‘staff’.

    • over it says:

      08:47am | 04/01/13

      You know, it really annoys me that people are complaining about penalty rates. It wasn’t the employees who wanted to work in shops open all hours of the day; early mornings, late nights, all weekend.  Apparently YOU, the customers, wanted it, and the EMPLOYERS went on with it. Everyone is happy with the arrangement except when it comes to paying for it. The boss wants the income that comes from being open all hours, then they can schlepp their asses out of bed at 3.30 am and do the work themselves.

    • acotrel says:

      08:56am | 04/01/13

      Penalty rates really stick in your craw, don’t they? Are you suggesting we should remove them and pay all workers ‘piece rates’ ?
      They should probably pay their own workers compensation, professional indemnity and unemployment insurance too, and provide transport for the use of the small business owner?  Essentially ‘on contract’, at normal ‘on contract’ rates of 2.5 times normal on staff salary ?
      Have good ‘dry retch’, wretch !

    • Cam says:

      09:04am | 04/01/13

      Yes Bitten we worked public holidays ourselves at our small sport/leisure business so that those 9 to 5’ers could have something to do on their day off. And yes we ended up both doing a weekend shift because of a thieving employee who decided to give herself extra penalty rates. I’m sorry but standing at a counter taking money does not warrant $50 an hour. Customers wanted access to our facilities 7 days a week, 364 days a year so every day was the same to us.

    • OverIt says:

      09:12am | 04/01/13

      Please don’t confuse the postings I have recently been making on Punch with the poster below who is using a very similar name to mine.

    • AdamC says:

      09:40am | 04/01/13

      Penalty rates, like wage rates themselves, should be based on market prices. 

      Casual loadings, however, should be imposed via Awards or other rules. This is because, for low-skilled and lower ability workers, loadings may get priced out of existence. However, it should always be more expensive for an employer to hire a casual employee than an equiavelent permanent one. This is to both to compensate employees for the explicit and implicit costs they bear from being employed casually and to encourage employers to hire permanent staff for ongoing roles.

    • Mayday says:

      08:13am | 04/01/13

      Unfair Dismissal laws are the reason casual work has surged and permanent work is disappearing.

      The unions are responsible for this by overstepping the mark so business has pulled back and will not risk hiring employees they cannot remove. 

      It riles me when I hear union reps carry on about casual workers and their lack of job security, they created the problem and then apportion blame on the employers.

    • Check your facts says:

      12:30pm | 04/01/13

      The casualisation of the workforce continued under Workchoices when there was no unfair dismissal law. Unfair dismissal laws are not driving casualisation of the workforce.
      Casualisation of the workforce is about business transferring the risks and consequences of a downturn in their business onto workers (if demand drops you are out the door with no redundancy), at the same time diminishing workers bargaining power to get a share of increased profits and productivity.
      Business owners have traditionally made more money than workers and have justified this because they risk their money to start and run the business. Markets are based on risk vs reward, if you invest in safe options (government bonds etc.) your return is lower, if you invest in risky options your potential reward is much higher (think internet start ups).
      Casualisation is about business keeping the rewards but transferring the risks on to employees.
      Business currently have 6 months to assess new workers without being subject to unfair dismissal, that is plenty of time to see if they are a fit for the business.

    • Sanity says:

      12:52pm | 04/01/13

      Actually, casual workers still have a number of the same rights in terms of unfair dismissal. They still can’t be dismissed for discriminatory reasons, nor can they be fired for standing up against a bully.

    • marley says:

      12:58pm | 04/01/13

      The problem is that business itself moves in cycles, and hiring permanent staff to meet short-term up-cycles is way too risky for most businesses, especially small ones.  Businesses need flexibility to survive.  If they can’t meet the bottom line, all the risk ends up being transferred to the workers, who all lose their jobs.

    • Big Jay says:

      01:25pm | 04/01/13

      @ Check your facts - “Casualisation of the workforce is about business transferring the risks and consequences of a downturn in their business onto workers” ... I sort of agree with this, to say that business wants “flexibility” to move up and down with demand. But fair enough, they pay a premium (casual loading and shift allowances etc) for this.

      My main concern with all this is we get ourselves into a tailspin with economic downturn—-> leads to casualisation of workers/nervous consumers—-> less demand—-> less employment.

    • Unfair vs Unlawful says:

      02:42pm | 04/01/13

      @Sanity - the rights are much different, you are talking about unfair vs unlawful dismissal. Unfair dismissal is any dismissal that is harsh unfair or unjust. Unlawful dismissal is more or less confined dismissal on discriminatory grounds.
      The big difference however comes when you try to enforce your rights - Unfair dismissal is heard by FWA at a cost of $26 application fee (can be waived for financial hardship), the applicant needs to show that the dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
      Unlawful dismissal cases are heard by the Federal Court, cost to both parties are considerable. The applicant needs to prove they were dismissed on discriminatory grounds. In most cases a casual wont be sacked in the first place they just wont get called to come in for another shift.

    • ramases says:

      08:14am | 04/01/13

      You yourselves are the main cause of employers taking on casual workers at reduced pay and conditions.
        The unions have always wanted more and more money but nowhere do I see a rise in productivity are a prerequisite of this extra money, instead a decline in the amount of work required. Employers cant keep increasing peoples pays without a return but this seems to have escaped the unions.
        I had always worked as either a casual or contractor in factories and always had a permanent position because I turned out more product than those in the same places on wages. Therein lies the problem. The Unions always tried to get me the sack because I made their members look like what they were, idle layabouts who knew it was so hard to be sacked that they didn’t have to exert themselves to stay in the job.
        I carried this over into my own business later and always took on casuals who knew that to make money and stay employed they must produce. They made money, they produced much more product than wages workers , my prices stayed down and I made money, a win win situation that is sadly lacking in most Union shops. To top it all off I gave them bonuses at Xmas every year because of the effort and work they put in and in the years that I had my business didn’t have to sack one worker for not doing his job.
      Its time that the employers were given back the rights that the Unions have taken away from them and they be allowed to hire and fire people without having to go through this ridiculous process that now exists. Its the employer who pays the money not the Unions but the Unions insist that they run this country as they seem fit even though it means more and more jobs either going overseas or just disappearing. Will the last worker please turn out the lights!

    • Looking for Permanent Work says:

      02:48pm | 04/01/13

      @Wayne Kerr, ” Otherwise they can be accused of giving jobs to their mates as opposed to trying to place the best candidate in the role.  Again, especialy in the public service, if they don’t do this someone who wants the role can file a grievance if the role isn’t advertised on the basis that they have been discriminated against.”.

      I actually know somebody who did challenge an internal decision to give a job to somebody who did not meet all the selection criteria, whereas this person did.  They were fobbed off for two weeks, then told it was too late as the contract had already been signed so nothing could be done.  They were told they had to bring a lawyer to any further meeting, as the HR manager was “not a lawyer, so couldn’t make legal decisions”, then when after all this the person persisted, the HR manager reluctantly agreed to look into the process.  The process that HE HIMSELF had signed off on.  So in spite of all the theoretical fear of grievance lodging, it turns out they can actually do what they want anyway.

    • encee says:

      08:14am | 04/01/13

      I’m a contractor. I only get paid for the hours I work. It wouldn’t be so bad if I was paid accordingly.

      I’m told I should be getting a higher hourly rate than my permanent colleagues.

      I don’t. So not only do I get less per hour, but I don’t get paid for public holidays or sick days and can’t afford to take a week of to wind down. I’m really feeling the pinch these holidays.

      My job has been just been advertised. Hopefully I will be the successful applicant!

    • Looking for Permanent Work says:

      08:57am | 04/01/13

      I truly wish you luck encee, I’m in the same position but without a perm job to apply for.  Many times last year I put hours of effort into addressing all criteria for an advertised job, all of which I was very well qualified to do, to not even get an interview.  I suspect that in many cases the incumbent (in this case, you) gets the job and the company is just going through the motions of advertising.  I truly wish they would just give the job to the person they want, and not waste the time and hopes of every applicant who has applied in good faith. I even got a knockback just before Christmas from a job I was sure wouldn’t interview until the new year. When I called for feedback, I asked how many people were progressing to interview and was told “one”.  When I asked if that person was already acting in the role I was told that information was “Confidential!”.  Confidential obviously being a euphemism for “I don’t want to tell you anything that may make my organisation look bad and possibly lead you to sue”.  Ha! As if somebody without a permanent job (or even with one!) could afford to!

      I’m also finding that after almost two years of casual work, prospective employers appear to view me as “flighty, uncommitted to long-term work.” and have been told this more than once based purely on my resume, even though my cover letter clearly states my desire to commit to a permanent job.  Never mind that I have managed, fortunately, to keep myself in close to full time casual work, albeit like you say, without benefits.

      As a casual, you can never plan or take planned leisure time off.  When you have a job, you don’t want to take time off from available work, when you don’t you can’t afford to.

      Like many of the posts here, I believe this situation has come about at least in part due to the excessive demands of the unions. Conversely, in the public service I once watched an employee arrive late, leave early, ALWAYS tack an extra day “sick” onto public holidays and fiddle their timesheets.  When I drew this to the attention of senior people I was told to back off in case this worker “lodged a grievance” against me! Of course nothing was done to change the worker’s behaviour!

      What a shame that many of us who would give employers no cause to have to sack us are now in this position.

    • acotrel says:

      09:00am | 04/01/13

      Bob Menzies once said ‘Australia will never be any good until we have unemployment’.

    • Carl says:

      10:01am | 04/01/13

      “I’m also finding that after almost two years of casual work, prospective employers appear to view me as “flighty, uncommitted to long-term work.”

      I am currently recruiting and the chairperson of the selection panel has this exact view. I try to remind her that several casual jobs doesn’t mean anything and that perhaps the person is having trouble getting something full time - not from lack of skill/experience but from lack of opportunity and availability. Unfortunately not everyone thinks the same way I do.

    • AdamC says:

      11:00am | 04/01/13

      encee says:

      “I’m told I should be getting a higher hourly rate than my permanent colleagues.”

      I am not an industrial relations lawyer or consultant. However, I did do some research about this recently and, based on my understanding, employers have to pay a casual loading, as all Modern Awards include these loadings. Individual contracts cannot reduce or eliminate Award entitlements. Collective agreements, negotiated with a registered union, can, but I find it hard to believe that any union would sign off on eliminating casual loadings. 

      Maybe your permanent colleagues work under agreements which offer better than Award rates, while casuals are only paid the minimum. I have heard about that happening in some workplaces, as the employer tries to keep permanent staff happy while seeing contractors, casuals etc as more expendable. (Sorry if that sounds like a glib choice of words.)

      I wish you the best of luck with your application, and with hopefully finding a permanent gig. I also echo Looking’s comment that it is really annoying to apply for a job that is only being advertised to ‘go through the motions’. Why do organisations do that?

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      11:58am | 04/01/13

      @LFPW
      “I truly wish they would just give the job to the person they want, and not waste the time and hopes of every applicant who has applied in good faith”

      The problem there is that the employer, especially in the public service, has to at the very least give the appearance of impartiality.  Otherwise they can be accused of giving jobs to their mates as opposed to trying to place the best candidate in the role.  Again, especialy in the public service, if they don’t do this someone who wants the role can file a grievance if the role isn’t advertised on the basis that they have been discriminated against.  This also applies to in the private sector to a certain degree.

    • Looking for Permanent Work says:

      04:10pm | 04/01/13

      @Carl. “I am currently recruiting and the chairperson of the selection panel has this exact view. I try to remind her that several casual jobs doesn’t mean anything and that perhaps the person is having trouble getting something full time - not from lack of skill/experience but from lack of opportunity and availability. Unfortunately not everyone thinks the same way I do. “

      Maybe your chairman is somebody I have actually applied to and been rejected from due to “length of tenure”, ha ha.

      Thanks for your support in showing her the other side, perhaps you could also make the point that for somebody to have been in almost continuous casual employment demonstrates strong flexibility, an ability to adapt to many different environments, the ability to form good working relationships (try going into a new place at the drop of a hat to take over someone’s job with no handover and NOT being able to form good working relationships quickly with those around you!) and self-motivation to go out seeking the next job as one is drawing to an end, while still remaining loyal to that current employer.

      Thanks again, you sound like a nice boss and I for one wouldn’t be taking advantage of that!

    • AdamC says:

      09:14am | 04/01/13

      Where does that 40% figure come from, the ACTU’s ‘Think of a number and quintuple it’ statistics factory? Seriously, what rubbish.

      Unionists are interesting people. They seem to have this great reverence for an idealised past which, like all idealised pasts, never existed. How many of us would want to go back to union Utopia of the 1960s-1970s? Think about it. Many workers spent their whole careers screwing parts into cars in inefficient, tarriff-protected factories. The shops shut on Saturday afternoons; the pubs shut at 6pm; many women did not work outside the home. (Men needed the jobs, you see.) Oh, and cafes and restaurants barely existed. Meanwhile, the economy shifted between periods of high-inflation growth and high-inflation stagnation.

      Yeah, fun times.

      On casual staff, I actually support maintaining casual loadings, because there are negative externalities, usually borne by the worker, that arise from using casual labour. An example of this is that casual workers find it more difficult to obtain finance to buy a home than an equivalent, permanent worker. Loadings cash out these negative externalities and discourage employers from using casual staff for ongoing roles.

      Having said that, the author’s case study is a problem of underemployment, not casualisation as such. It is quite possible for permanent staff to want more hours. Union-endorsed employment policies will not help anyone on that score.

    • NotSoSimple says:

      10:23am | 04/01/13

      Just a minor point but you’re wrong about pubs shutting at 6pm in the 70s in Australia, Adam C. South Aus was the last state to introduce ten o’clock closing in 1967 but most of the other states had already extended trading hours before before then viz:

      “Closing time was extended to 10 p.m. in Tasmania from 1937. The issue of ending early closing was voted on in New South Wales in 1947, but the proposal was voted down, but a vote in 1954 narrowly won, and closing hours were extended to 10 p.m. in 1955. Hours were extended in Victoria in 1966, and South Australia was the last state to abolish six o’clock closing with legislation introduced by Don Dunstan in 1967 and the first legal after-six beer being drunk on 28 September.”

      So perhaps your “unidealised” vision of the past, ie that Union won work pay and conditions weren’t better then is incorrect as well? wink

    • sunny says:

      10:41am | 04/01/13

      AdamC - “How many of us would want to go back to union Utopia”

      Most workers don’t know their full rights - they’re just not educated or outspoken enough. Unions are required in a lot of employment situations to prevent exploitation.

      I haven’t been an employee for 10 years and haven’t been in a union for about 20 years, but I only remember excellent things about my union rep when I worked in a supermarket over 20 years ago. She really knew her stuff (in terms of legal rights and rewards). It was not an adversarial situation - the employer respected her position because she was just representing the written legal position, the employees consulted her because they themselves just didn’t know the law. She was like a go-between and a peace keeper - if she didn’t stand up for the workers’ right then nobody would have.

      For the record I’m against unions who try to have an influence on the strategic or operational decisions of a company, and I’m against union bosses who collect huge wages for doing fuck-all but screwing the people they represent.

    • Achmed says:

      09:39am | 04/01/13

      Look in your court lists and see how many employers are being taken to court for breaching the Minimum Conditions Act.  See how many employers are exploiting workers particularly young workers by not paying them the correct amounts or making them work hours outside the law. And you will also find that it is a Union that is assisting them because the worker does not have the resources to take these rotten employers to court.
      Casual and short term contract workers cannot get a loan, permanent work is required by banks.  That condemns these workers to renting, unable to purchase a house, unable to get a loan to get a car etc.  Consider the effect on the economy that this has.

    • Mel says:

      09:46am | 04/01/13

      I guess you just should have tried harder at school .... or start your own business. But hey that would mean hard work wouldn’t it?

    • Sundress in Sydney says:

      10:32am | 04/01/13

      What an arrogant post.  Not all people are equal, and not all have the same ability.  Some do not exell at academia or have the acumen to run a business.  So does that mean they should be discounted?  Where I work we have some exceptional machinists, welders etc.  These people are very good tradespeople and we pay them well.  However the market is not there for them to work as independant contractors.  And also whilst some produce extraordinary work, they would not be comfortable running a business, nor have the skill set.  Having said that, our management do not have the skills to produce what the tradespeople do.  And for the record, they did work hard.  They did their four years apprenticeship and then further schooling as new equipment and information comes forth.  Most of them do ongoing schooling for precisely that reason.  In the same vein, a garbage collector may not have the skills to start their own business but still do a very important job.  Should they then be treated with the same arrogant contempt you display?  The lofty heights must be wonderful.

    • Sanity says:

      12:56pm | 04/01/13

      What about those people who DO try hard and still can’t get a job? A friend of mine received an ATAR score in the high 90’s (in 2007). It took him 2 years to find some casual work while he was studying. Nobody wanted him because he was too old (he was almost 20). In my case, I also studied hard. I am now completing a Masters in Teaching. I still cannot find any work however, because of the lovely little rule that states that while age discrimination is illegal, you can still hire someone under the age of 21 and pay them $8 per hour.

    • marley says:

      02:51pm | 04/01/13

      @Sanity - so, are you saying that if the minimum wage for everyone was $8 an hour, you could get a job, but because it’s $15 for you, you can’t?  Does that tell you something about the value of the union push for a $15 minimum wage? That people who do get jobs get a better pay, but that fewer people get jobs?  That’s the trade off when you have a minimum wage set as high as the one in Australia.

    • expat says:

      03:02pm | 04/01/13

      Sundress in Sydney.

      I agree that not everyone is equal, what annoys me is that these low achievers have an attitude that they are entitled to be equal to high achievers, unions exist to achieve this “equality” which is in reality just screwing the high achievers.

    • OverIt says:

      03:09pm | 04/01/13

      @Mel, you are showing your ignorance, and quite frankly being offensive.  There are many qualified, hardworking people who cannot find permanent employment or who take employment far below their capsbilities just to make ends meet.  I’m one of them.

    • Achmed says:

      09:52am | 04/01/13

      I see the usual union bashing sport is on again.  All Unions are bad, terrible entities.  Bash them all, lump them all together. 
      When was the last time anyone saw heavy handed industrial action and unrealistic demands from the Shoppies union, thats the union that covers checkout “chicks/guys” and the person working in the big shops like Myer/Coles/DJ’s, or the same from the union that covers Child Care workers, or the union that covers your local council workers, or that which covers Police, firies, ambos?
      A couple of extreme unions get all the media and the sheep lump all unions in the same pot. 
      I’ve been a union member and active in the operations on my Unions executive, unpaid, for over 30 years.  None of our members have lost a days pay due to strike action.
      Get real, just like there are rotten employers who exploit people there are radical unions.

    • marley says:

      12:21pm | 04/01/13

      @Achmed - the problem is that those radical unions have an undue influence on the political situation in this country.  They’re elected to represent the union members, not to decide government policy.

    • acotrel says:

      04:27pm | 04/01/13

      Mar ley
      ’ the problem is that those radical unions have an undue influence on the political situation in this country.  They’re elected to represent the union members, not to decide government policy. ‘

      Does that statement apply equally to the employers’ unions ? How much influence do you believe trade unions should be permitted to actually have in our political system. Where would you find Der eader to make the decision ? Tony Hairybot ?

    • dobbieb says:

      10:52am | 04/01/13

      No Achmed ROTTEN UNIONS, not radical. eeg HSU, AWU with its Slush Funds

    • Achmed says:

      11:16am | 04/01/13

      and like there aren’t ROTTEN employers?  Look at the companies that go “broke” yet the owners/CEO etc still have their multi-million dollar homes and lifestyle while the employees and shareholders loose out.

      Alan Bond, Christopher Skase etc…....

    • SAm says:

      11:04am | 04/01/13

      There are 2 sides to the coin. Yes, casual work works fantastic for some people, and their employers, but many (possibly the majority) of casuals hate it but cant get anything else. My wife is one of those.

    • expat says:

      02:53pm | 04/01/13

      By the end of the decade the vast majority of employees will be on either casual or contract type roles. The only full time jobs will exist in the public sector.

      Give me a good (non emotional) reason why any business would employ someone full time in the current business environment?
      It would be suicide for a small business in this environment to be employing anything other than casuals and preferably contract where possible.

    • Bob says:

      04:50pm | 04/01/13

      Yeah, well I’ve read all the comments and it’s undoubtedly not a happy scene out there, I started work in ‘47 and have been through most of it and I certainly wouldn’t like to be starting out again now! Back then I would walk out of a job and straight into another one, there were more jobs than people but that will never happen again - at least in this century! Want the bad news or the badder news? The bad news is that it’s not going to get any better and the badder news is that it’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it’s done. As a society we’re headed for an upheaval as great as that in 18th century England at the time of the industrial revolution and we’re little better prepared to cope with it than were they. If you want a glimpse of what it may be like, read about the ‘robber barons’ of late 19th century America - Astor, Carnegie, Ford, Mellon, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt & others - and how they made their money and treated their workers. If nothing else, history teaches that ‘those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them’
      Let’s not forget the ‘march’ of progress which has now become a helter skelter ride with new products and processes tumbling out almost daily. Think the big money men & Governments aren’t champing at the bit to get their hands on untiring & cheap disposable workers or warriors, they won’t have to wait much longer. Got a son or nephew apprenticed as a fittrer & turner, he’s wasting his time - 3D printers are here! Thinking of building a house with brickies & chippies & tilers, forget it - 3D printers again! Wanna star in movies or telly, better be quick ‘coz avatars are getting better and better and they don’t throw hissy fits nor demand humungous salaries or 5 star. Job at a call centre listening to the complaints and sorting out the messes, AI is coming closer every year.
      Some of the comments harp on the role of the unions and what they can/should be doing, well the short answer to both is pretty much zilch! In my time I have been a unionist, a union delegate and on the board of union trusts and in all that time I never met any union official who put the union aims and ideals ahead of his/her own advancement. They all exhibited, to a greater or lesser degree, a belief in the ‘whatever it takes’ syndrome.now rampant in the Labor party. I would also observe that nearly all the talking union heads on the telly have either Northern England, Scottish or Irish accents and seem intent on refighting the class battles of the 18th & 19 th century!
      So here I an in my dotage croaking gloom & doom like some latter day Cassandra but that’s just me and my vision of the future, yours is different and either - or neither - may be valid. Society will survive, it always has, but you may not like the result!

 

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