Christensen urges Albanese to back casual workers’ law
DAWSON MP George Christensen claims the mining sector is shifting back towards permanent employment again.
His comment came in the wake of an explosive document released in Mackay on Thursday, which found $296.95 million is being stripped from the region's economy annually due to lower wages paid to mining contractors.
The McKell Institute's 'Wage-cutting Strategies in the Mining Industry' report stated there had been a substantial increase in the use of labour hire contractors by mining companies.
" … In most cases they do the same work on the same rosters as permanent employees but with lower wages and on a casual basis," the report said.
Mr Christensen has now called on the Opposition to support the Morrison Government's push for laws to enable moves to permanent employment after 12 months of regular work.
"We introduced a bill to Parliament which would enable casual workers who've been doing the same shifts for 12 months or more to go to the boss and request a move to permanent employment, whether that be full-time or part-time," he said.
"Labor voted against it in the Senate.
"The Morrison Government will re-introduce this bill, and this time round, I would ask Labor to walk the walk and support workers."
But Mr Albanese described the legislation as 'flawed' and claimed it was capable of giving more power to employers, not workers.
"There's nothing in that legislation that would have ensured that someone, a worker in those circumstances, would have to be listened to," he said.
Mr Albanese said Australia needed clear laws to ensure workers doing the same work were paid the same.
"That will take away the incentive that's currently there in the system for the casualisation of the workforce," he said.
Mr Christensen said BHP subsidiary, Operations Services, was an example of how the mining industry was moving away from casualisation in the workforce.
The CFMEU has been critical of the Operations Services model.
"The move is now shifting away from casualisation to full-time, principally because the whole sector has realised that the government wants to pass these laws to enable casual workers to transition into full-time work," Mr Christensen said.
"WorkPac, which is a labour hire company, is saying to its employees that after six months they can transfer into full-time work.
"That's going to deal with a whole heaps of problems out there."