FIGHTING BACK AGAINST CASUALISATION
An article by Warehouse Worker and NUW Delegate Marcus Harrington
Delegates of the National Union of Workers converged on the Meadows Racecourse, located in the solid working class suburb of Broadmeadows on Monday 8 May to launch a campaign in the fight back against casualisation.
The Jobs you can count on campaign was devised and launched by the rank and file on this occasion in response to the rapid increase in casualisation in the workforce.
The past eight years has seen casualisation reach frightening heights in Australia. In 2004, around 28% of the total workforce were employed as casuals. At this point in time, in 2012, casualisation is at the 40% mark.
The casual mode of employment is one pushed by the employers and the Industry Groups in a way to divide and intimidate workers. It is used as a mechanism to displace and eliminate permanent, secure employment. The bosses use shorter, overlapping shifts, in order to avoid shift penalties, allowances and meal breaks.
Casual workers, in many circumstances employed by third party labour hire providers, often feel intimidated to join the Union and to voice their opinion on matters in the workplace for fear of reprisal.
There is no security in casualisation, and this situation amounts to negative social implications. Often times, these casuals are working unsocial hours, which in turn detracts from time being spent with family, time participating in the local community, in charities and in local sports clubs.
So the fight back against the growing trend of casualisation begins. Jobs you can count on is a long-term campaign aimed at once again providing secure jobs for secure lives, and reversing the previous 30 years.
At a recent rally in the City of Melbourne, prominent unionist Dave Kerin sent a strong message to the corporations; “Stop telling us that casualisation is flexibility, freedom and choice, its none of those, casualisation is a lie, casualisation means our children have no future.”
From little things big things grow; the short term must see the rank and file, be they casual or permanent, unite on the job, and fight as one team. We must not play into the bosses hand, and believe that casual workers are second class citizens. Every worker counts! That is a key element of this campaign, to engage with our casual comrades, provide solidarity, and give them the confidence to stand up and join the union.
Tim Kennedy, Victorian Branch Secretary of the NUW, clearly states, “We have no future as the National Union of Full Time Workers; we must become the National Union OF Workers!”
But the campaign is not just about the NUW, the campaign will be taken into the broader community. Discussions must be had in our localities, and the first step is to encourage people to join their union.
Unity is Strength - the class solidarity seen in recent times through the Qantas dispute, the Nurses struggle, and through the Baiada dispute must continue in this campaign in the fight against casualisation. The Baiada dispute was about this very campaign, a fight against contract and cash in hand work.
For more information go to www.jobsyoucancounton.com.au
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