Australian Greens Leader and former industrial relations lawyer, Adam Bandt, has outlined how the radical overhaul at the heart of the IR omnibus bill will entrench insecure work. Bandt says the controversy over the terrible ‘Better Off Overall Test’ change has unfortunately distracted from the extreme nature of other reforms in the bill.
“This bill will redefine the Australian labour market,” said Dr Bandt.
“The bill allows employers to wrongly classify permanent employees as casual and get away with it. Employees won’t be able to challenge their employment status and will be stuck as casuals even when in truth they are permanent employees.”
“Further, full-time jobs will become a thing of the past, as the bill introduces a new kind of ‘low hours’ contract, where a worker will be guaranteed only 16 hours a week with everything after that at the employer’s whim.”
“The bill also writes unions out of much of the bargaining process, keeps workers in the dark about what they’re voting on and locks in inflexible agreements for years.”
“Together, these provisions will turbocharge job insecurity and profoundly change the industrial landscape in a way we haven’t seen for decades.
“Insecure work makes it harder for people to plan their lives and is at the heart of wage growth stagnation. When workers are insecure, it puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating pay raises.
“In particular, an insecure, casualised workforce is far less likely to unionise and there is no better way for a worker to improve their pay and conditions than to join a union and organise collectively.
“COVID has further exposed the impact on individuals and families of insecure work. People were put in an awful decision of having to choose between getting paid or getting tested and isolating.
“The controversy over the BOOT has distracted from the core of the bill. This bill cannot be considered moderate simply because one extreme element has been ditched,” Bandt said.