Public service boss pushes insecure future for workers
Commonwealth Public Service boss John Lloyd has launched a bitter attack on unions, setting an agenda for an insecure public sector.
Mr Lloyd claimed unions are standing in the way of increasing use of contracts, casual work and external contractors.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said Mr Lloyd was correct in identifying unions as the roadblock to an insecure future for working Australians.
“These comments are completely out of touch with the views of the majority of the community,” Mr Hayes said.
“By championing these forms of insecure work, Mr Lloyd seeks to undermine a key principle of our community: that of secure work and fair pay.”
When Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary Sally McManus addressed the national Press Club in March, she ignited the Change The Rules campaign to fix Australia’s broken industrial rules.
Ms McManus described the exploitation of workers, casualisation of jobs and suppression of wages as “our national crisis”.
Mr Lloyd’s proposal of a largely insecure workforce would only deepen this national crisis.
“The [Federal] Government denies Australia has a job insecurity crisis. Yet in their own workforce, they are creating insecure work by forcing people out of good, steady jobs and into contracting, labour hire, consultancy and casual work,” Ms McManus said.
“The [Federal] Government has already made savage cuts across the public service, which we know have had significant impacts on delivery of vital services. It’s time this Government stood behind its employees and did something to protect jobs rather than cutting them.”
Mr Hayes said this attack on public servants showed that no sector was immune from the consequences of Australia’s broken industrial rules, as around four million Australians were now employed in some form of insecure work.
“Employees in the education sector and particularly graduate teachers and school support staff know too well the experience of insecure work by way of fixed-term contracts,” Mr Hayes said.
“Members have also seen school employers outsource services staff jobs to external contractors and employ music teachers, IT support staff and vocational education staff as ‘independent contractors’.
“All of these employer actions have eroded previously ongoing positions in our schools.”
Mr Hayes said this model is designed to deny these workers basic entitlements such as superannuation, workers’ compensation, severance pay, unfair dismissal protections and leave entitlements.
“When power is so heavily concentrated in the hands of employers, it is no surprise we are now facing a crisis of flatlining wages and insecure work.”
“Unions are working to Change The Rules that have watered down protections for workers and allowed employers to deny secure jobs in the guise of ‘flexibility’.”
“Having a job that you can count on is a foundation of Australian workplaces.
“Our members will continue to campaign for the right of all workers to a basic level of income security and fair working conditions.”
Find out more about the Change The Rules campaign here.