Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shotgun Wedding

The (heavily undersubscribed & outdated) Australian trade union movement has been bleating somewhat of late about how the workforce is "casualised" & how such workers do not "have certainty" etc.

I can relate to some of that. I don't have certainty. Tomorrow I may be out of business, forced onto the wallaby & having to hump bluey.

On boy, would some certainty be handy around here! But nobody is going to legislate to guarantee me a certain number of patrons each week. I am at the mercy of lots of variable factors. Many of them totally beyond my control.

Under unfair dismissal laws, the cost of removing unproductive/disruptive staff is so great that like many small business employers, I am loathe to hire. I hire no more than I need to, & have eliminated all of the peripheral & small jobs in my business.

This is purely because the less staff on the payroll, the less risk I face under the Fair Work Act.

It is that simple.

In the 1990's short term contracts & labour hire were expanding. Purely because employers were not prepared to expose themselves to the risks of hiring permanent staff. The Fair Work Act will see a return to those circumstances (alternatively your job moves overseas.)

Introduction of (say) a 6-month threshold after which casual/temporary staff will be entitled to a permenant position will lead to 5-month non-renewable contracts for the more marginal workers (NB: just about every job title lower than "executive").

Result: Less permanent jobs than before, and less certainty for most workers.

.... or just change the law so that firing staff is easier than divorcing a spouse.

It is that simple.


kae said...

They can't see that what they do reduces the security of people's jobs.

I live in a country area and I'd hate to live like some of the locals do to make ends meet, particularly in the drought when they couldn't make a living on their farms.

Some people out here have two, three or four jobs to make up a full week of work and pay. And most of them are crummy, low-paid jobs, too.

JeffS said...

Yeah, that's like the minimum wage and benefit laws up here in the states. If a state requires full benefits get paid to employees work 40 hours a week, suddenly a lot of people have 32 hours a week as their schedule.

As we used to say in high school, "Smooth move, Ex-Lax!"