Turning Up the Heat for Secure Jobs

  • 13 October 2021

The union movement will be uniting behind workers and individual unions pursuing job security claims as the ACTU declared unions will be “turning up the heat” on employers as the economy emerges from the pandemic, flagging more action, picket lines, and product boycotts, to pressure companies to offer more secure employment conditions to workers. All unions will be getting behind workers who are fighting for job security so employers know they are not just dealing with their own workforce but all of us and the whole union movement.  The ACTU cited previous campaigns against Carlton & United Breweries, Streets ice cream and Harvey Norman where unions urged the public to boycott their products.

The mass loss of casual jobs during the pandemic had driven a shift in attitude among voters, including Liberal supporters, from acceptance of insecure work to wanting government action to fix it.

ACTU commissioned polling of 1242 voters across the federal seats of Lindsay and Herbert found 72 per cent, including 50 per cent of Liberal voters surveyed, believed insecure work was being made worse by government and business.  More than 62 per cent believed their jobs had become less secure during the pandemic while 70 per cent of voters, including 38 per cent of Liberal voters surveyed, said jobs were not secure enough to allow workers to plan for the future.  Almost two-thirds of voters surveyed, including 58 per cent of Liberal supporters, said they had either lost work or hours in the past 12 months, or knew someone in their family who had.

The ACTU would also be targeting employers across manufacturing, warehousing and distribution who kept operating during the pandemic but had converted workers to labour hire and other forms of insecure employment.

Weak bargaining laws mean workers are continually forced to take industrial action without pay to fight for basic rights.  We need secure jobs as we head into the next phase of Covid, and into a federal election.

The ACTU said Employers need to know that if a group of workers is having a dispute or a claim for secure jobs and they are fighting for that, they’re not just taking on that group of workers, or just that one union, it will be the whole union movement.

Many Employers would prefer to have their people in more permanent jobs, but because competitors aren’t doing that, and it’s cheaper to adopt business models which are based on insecurity, secure jobs requires legislative change so that they are not having to compete against people with those other business models.  You have got to make it universal for everyone.