The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has called for a national target to halve the number of insecure jobs in Australia by 2030, as it voices its concern at the decline in traditional full-time permanent employment in the country.
In a submission to the Senate Select Committee on Job Security, the union body warned that almost 60 percent of jobs created since the start of the post-lockdown recovery have been casual.
This shift towards insecure work arrangements was compounding the impact of stagnant household incomes.
Highest levels of unreliable work in the OECD
“Australia currently has one of the highest levels of unreliable work in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with 2,3-million casual workers [and] sham contracting – including gig work – rife across many sectors of the economy and over 400,000 people on fixed-term contracts,” the ACTU said in a statement.
“Millions of workers are living pay cheque-to-pay cheque, with ABS data revealing that 1,5-million [workers] do not have $2,000 in savings or ready cash for an emergency.
“Workers are less likely to spend when their work and pay is unreliable. To repair the economy, workers need financial security to encourage spending.”
According to the ACTU, women are disproportionately represented in unreliable and insecure employment and make up 62 percent of casual worker numbers in the pandemic-recovery period.
Unreliable income creates unreliable spending
ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus, said unreliable work meant unreliable income and unreliable spending in local businesses.
“The economic recovery should be an opportunity to strengthen the economy by making work more secure and reliable for millions of working people. Instead, the Coalition is doubling down on insecure work,” McManus stated.
“We have the highest proportion of Australians working two or more jobs on record. No one works multiple, low-paid, unreliable and insecure jobs by choice. Workers are being forced to take multiple jobs and work more hours to make ends meet.”
She said that instead of acting to prevent the jobs recovery being casualised, the Government had passed new laws this year that allowed permanent jobs to be turned into casual ones.