OHS & WHS: COSBOA calls on government to reject union moves on casual workers

by Kylie Field

Jan 11, 2018

The Council of Small Business of Australia has said the call by the ACTU to restrict casual work and force employers to make people permanent if requested by the employee is ridiculous and they would expect the government and opposition to reject this job-killing notion.

COSBOA CEO Peter Strong said: “Some in the union movement seems to be making things up to justify its relevance and this shows they have no understanding of the modern world. The real facts are that the level of casual employment is no different from decades ago and most casual workers want to be casual as it suits their situation. The more important issue for business and job security is that a business model should be based on business needs not on the needs of the union movement.”

 COSBOA says the percentage of the workforce that was casual in 1998 was 20.1%, which is exactly the same figure as November 2015. There has also been a large increase in full time jobs over the last twelve months.

“We also note that the unions are saying any problem areas can be dealt with in the award or in an enterprise agreement, which would add 30 or 40 pages to an already complicated system. For example, if an employee has taken 12 months parental leave and is replaced by a casual who then becomes permanent after six months the employer will end up with two permanent employees and only one job, and there are many other examples of problems that will be created by such a ill-advised idea,” said Strong.

“This idea is definitely anti small business, only the larger businesses with expert staff units could deal with the complexity that would be created by such a change.  Our recommendation to the small business community would be to not employ anyone and if it is essential then use a labor hire firm to manage the risk. Small business people who are forced to employ permanent staff when it cannot be justified will increase the chance of losing their businesses and their homes.“

Strong believes it is obvious that the union movement, at least the largest unions, are seeking relevance by inventing problems similar to their approach to the current penalty rate issue where they are ignoring the real facts.

“If they are successful there will be higher unemployment and greater confusion for employers and employees. To stop this destructive behaviour we recommend that the small more agile unions leave the ACTU and form the Council of Small Unions of Australia (COSUA) as they, the smaller unions, are better able to deal with disruption and change,” said Strong.

“We believe that smaller unions will do what is best for their members through practical ideas not by acting on false ideas found in a rarely read chapter of some Marxist tome.”

 


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