Friday, November 25, 2016

CFMEU: Workpac contractor employees reject proposed new agreement

Thu 24/11/2016

Workpac contractor employees reject proposed new agreement – setback for casualisation

Today the CFMEU Mining and Energy Division said the failure of labour hire company Workpac’s proposed new enterprise agreement is good news for workers and a setback for the casualisation of the mining workforce.

CFMEU M&E Queensland District Senior Vice-President Mitch Hughes said he hoped the predominantly rejection vote by the company’s employees would be enough to send a signal to labour hire companies that workers are ready to stand up for their workplace conditions, and fight for secure jobs.

“It’s no secret that mining and labour hire companies are promoting the casualisation of the workforce at the expense of job security of workers,” said Mr Hughes.

“Workers are being treated as ‘permanent casuals’ with no certainty over their future, and inferior benefits or entitlements, putting their livelihoods in question.

“Today over 87 percent of eligible workers voted in Workpac’s proposed new agreement ballot and the majority rejected further casualization, preferring instead security of employment protections for workers

“The CFMEU put forward a claim that proposed a clause to allow an employee to choose – after a certain period of time – whether they wanted to remain as a casual employee or convert to permanent employment.

“We also asked that Workpac provide at least six hours’ notice to casual employees before they were removed. At the moment, a casual employee can be asked to leave with only one hour’s notice.

“Our claims seek to protect workers from an increasingly insecure workplace environment in the hope workers can plan and provide for their futures and their families. The claims requested by Workpac seek to further undermine conditions and increase the uncertainty workers face. For example, Workpac wants to be able to decrease an employee’s wage when needed.

“In another blow to labour hire companies’ plans to casualise the workforce, today’s decision Skene v Workpac Pty Ltd also found that under the Fair Work Act its former employee, Paul Skene, cannot be classified as a casual employee, and will likely be eligible to significant back-pay.

“This recent decision and the rejection of the new Workpac proposed agreement show that workers will not be pushed around by companies that are not prepared to treat them justly. Workers are entitled to secure and steady jobs, and they will fight for them.

“The CFMEU will continue to work with Workpac employees to make them aware of their rights and to get the best possible outcomes for them and their families,” said Mr Hughes.

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