Temps rising: Why public sector work is becoming less secure
6 March 2012, 2:30pm
CPSU Assistant National Secretary - Louise Persse
The CPSU has presented evidence that work in the public sector is becoming increasingly insecure to the ACTU’s Howe Inquiry set up to investigate the extent of insecure work in Australia.
CPSU Assistant National Secretary Louise Persse, who presented the CPSU’s findings, said that budget restrictions and poor workforce planning are seriously impacting public service job security and staff entitlements.
“Insecure work is apparent in both the CPSU’s private and public sector membership areas. Employers such as the ABC and the Australian Public Service are seeking to reduce their short term costs by hiring non-ongoing staff who get less pay and fewer entitlements,” Ms Persse said.
A recent ACTU study found 40 per cent of Australian workers are employed in insecure jobs and the public service is starting to follow this trend.
In the APS eight per cent of all staff are ‘non-ongoing’ and another 10 per cent are on contracting arrangements. The ACT and NT public services have even higher rates of non-ongoing employment at 23.1 per cent and 29.2 per cent.
“Whilst not as high as the Australian average, these statistics go against the perception that public sector jobs are ‘jobs for life’.
“Insecure work is a big issue in some public service workplaces. There is an increasing use of labour hire employees in workplaces such as Centrelink call centres and ATO Operations, where 35 per cent of staff now have temporary or non-ongoing jobs.
“Of particular concern is that the statistics show us the average insecure worker in the Australian Public Service is more likely to be a woman, a young person or an Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander, ” Ms Persse said.
The CPSU’s What Women Want report, released this week, surveyed more than 13,000 women on their attitudes to work. Of those who were employed on a non-ongoing basis, over two thirds were dissatisfied with their level of job security.
“The impacts of insecure work are far reaching. Insecure workers have fewer entitlements and are often paid less than their colleagues. Job insecurity has implications for getting loans, purchasing property and on retirement incomes. We know that these workers are dissatisfied with their situation,” Ms Persse said.
Ms Persse said that the findings demonstrate the need for the Government to address budget restrictions without resorting to increasing numbers of temporary and insecure jobs.
“Hiring non-ongoing staff isn’t a smart move for the employer either. It’s a quick fix that means increased spending on recruitment and training. Every time a temporary arrangement comes to an end the department is losing valuable skills and knowledge.
“The Government should be a model employer that sets the standard for job security and employment conditions. Instead, we’re increasingly seeing the opposite.”
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