Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union

 

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Fixing the casual, insecure work problem

The union’s campaign to fix the labour hire industry and reduce casual and insecure work has made some big leaps forward recently, with our innovative organising strategy in labour hire winning big gains for members working in the industry, and a state government inquiry aiming to clean up the industry and improve conditions for thousands of people stuck in the insecure work cycle. 

Insecure work and casual has left millions of Australian working people without access to workplace rights, career development and job security. Casual and insecure work creates great anxiety amongst working people and their families. It does not create productive workplaces, and does not provide the flexibility of working arrangements that is required for many working people.

Instead, insecure and casual work:

  • Increases financial insecurity;
  • Impacts personal relationship;
  • Jeopardises workplace safety;
  • Limits career development and training;
  • Often is used to undermine pay and conditions.

To stem the rise of insecure and casual work and help our members obtain secure, permanent employment, the AMWU works hard with its activists to achieve change both in the workplace and outside the workplace. For we know that while real gains for workers are often only won through well-organised and bargained agreements, we also know that our hard won gains need to be entrenched through stronger laws at a state and federal level.

The union’s persistent lobbying of the Victorian Government to reform the licencing system for labour hire operators and reform workplace laws to stem the rise of insecure work has paid off, with the Andrews Government last year launching an inquiry.

The Inquiry into Labour Hire and Insecure Work has seen over a dozen AMWU members and officials give evidence to the Inquiry at hearings held around the state over the last 3 months.

The union will pursue reforms to the licencing system for labour hire operators, as well as legislation to enshrine the portability of long service leave, severance pay and other employee benefits. 

The Victorian branch of the AMWU is also achieving great change in the labour hire industry. The union launched an initiative to organise the labour hire sector after years of inaction by the government to reign in the industry being overrun by rogue operators working outside industrial laws.

The patent agreement secures good wages and conditions for thousands of working people. With many months of hard work and persistence by our labour hire organiser and members, we have since managed to sign up over 40 metal trades-related labour hire companies to our patent agreement.

The agreement secures:

  • Common wages standards;
  • The portability of entitlements such as long service leave and severance pay;
  • Access to industry superannuation;
  • The coverage of travel costs to new worksites;
  • Improved health and safety standards;
  • Other entitlements and conditions.

Importantly, the agreement does not undermine the in-house workers at a client site that have higher wages or conditions. Instead, those workers on the labour hire patent agreement instead jump up onto the higher conditions and wages of the client site, so that all workers benefit and labour hire workers cannot be used to undercut the permanent workforce.

We will work to roll out the agreement further into other workplaces, industries and states to ensure that members in labour hire are working secure jobs in safe workplaces, and are valued equally to the employees in the host company that they work alongside.

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