Last week’s ACTU congress had a focus on insecure work, with their independent report (Lives on Hold, Unlocking the Potential of Australia’s Workforce) taking centre stage. It’s a thoughtful and well researched contribution to the increasing use of non standard work, and the alienation of so many workers from that basic value we share with Australia : a fair days pay for a fair days work.
There’s so much in this report that would ring bells in New Zealand. Here’s what Kathy says :
“I have had 40 jobs with 20 different agencies/ labour hire over the past year. They tell me it could lead to permanent employment but it never does. We are always let go and sent somewhere else at the end of our three-month trial. We are made to feel disposable and some places I am sent to the managers and employees say ‘Oh you’re just a casual’. This might be true but I still need to eat! I am always negotiating with the bank around my mortgage because I can’t lock in secure work.”
It’s a discussion we should be having in New Zealand, but instead the NZ government is about to embark on a wholesale attack on the very heart of our employment relations system. Rather than attacking basic rights, wouldn’t it be great to be debating and implementing creative, progressive reforms? Wouldn’t it be great to have an inclusive society that provides sustainable and decent work for all, that strikes a balance between maintaining economic competitiveness and security for NZ working people?
Sure, the Aussies have their problems, but they are looking ahead. They’re talking about it.
In New Zealand, the government is nurturing a dog eat dog attitude.
It’s your fault if you aren’t on top and for goodness sake, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.