Union leader Sally McManus wants CQ workers to get a fair go
MANY workers around Central Queensland struggle to get by and the leader of the Australia's union movement, Sally McManus, says she knows what needs to change.
The first ever female secretary in Australian Council of Trade Unions' (ACTU) 90-year history, swung into Rockhampton on Wednesday to address union members in their fight for a 'fair go'.
She identified two key issues - stagnating wages and casualisation - as needing to be addressed, not just here in CQ, but also around the country.
She said Australian workers hadn't had a real pay increase despite business profits, CEO bonuses and productivity rising.
"Rockhampton's got people in work suffering from low wage growth and also a problem with unemployment," Ms McManus said.
"When wages are not going up for those people who are in employment, they've got less discretionary money to spend and that's money you would have spent at the local community, butchers, the bookshop or anywhere in the local area."
She said low turnover for businesses, particularly small businesses, in turn affected the number of jobs created in the local economy.
According to Ms McManus there were three ways in which wages could increase - having skills that employers really needed, when the law required it, (such as increasing the minimum wage) or when the rules allowed workers to have enough bargaining power.
Ms McManus said casualisation and insecure work impaired local workers' ability to get ahead creating uncertainty for earnings and employment duration.
"(Compared to over developed countries, Australia has) the highest level of temporary work and the third highest level of insecure work," she said.
"It's not normal and it's because our workplace rights are too loose and they've allowed the creation of too many casual, ABN, labour hire, fixed-term contract and part-time jobs."
To fix casualisation, she said policies were needed allowing workers to shift from casual to permanent, stop indefinite contract renewals, define 'casual', crack down on dodgy labour hire companies and ensure all workers doing the same job get the same pay.