Australia needs to get serious about tackling insecure work if we are to address rising poverty and inequality, Australian Unions say.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said that 40% of the Australian workforce is employed in insecure work and 25% of all employees have pay that varies from one pay period to the next.
"More and more workers in Australia have jobs that have irregular and unpredictable working hours and pay, inferior rights and entitlements including limited or no access to paid leave, and no job security," Ms Kearney said.
"Insecure work causes financial hardship and these workers find it difficult to get loans, rent a house and get access to training and promotion opportunities.
"A lack of job security and irregular income can see people slip into poverty. What's at risk is an American-style working poor emerging in this country – something that Australian's overwhelming reject ."
Ms Kearney said that quality, secure jobs are key to a shared national prosperity and unions are pushing to give more than two million casual workers in Australia the right to become permanent employees.
"We want a clause entered into all modern awards that will allow casual employees to become permanent staff members," said Ms Kearney.
"This will recognise people who are permanent workers in everything but name.
"People are not just tools for employers to use - they have lives and families and deserve to be given the respect of decent, secure work.
"This change is targeted at workers who are permanent in everything but name, not genuine casuals such as students who work irregular shifts in bars or restaurants.
"This is about the teachers, receptionists, disability support and aged care workers who are already genuinely working permanent hours and deserve to have that recognised."
The ACTU is preparing to lodge the claim with the Fair Work Commission under the review of the modern award system that is currently underway.
Anti-Poverty Week started today. For more information visit http://www.antipovertyweek.org.au
Media contact: Carla De Campo, 0410 579 575 or Kara Douglas, 0418 793 885