I saw an article the other day where it was claimed that 16,000 new jobs had been created in one month. Apparently 45,000 permanent jobs were lost and 61,000 casual jobs created.
At the risk of getting the “free market capitalists” and economists frothing at the mouth and murmuring “socialism” I thought I would tell of one example that I know of where this sort of bullshit is practised to the detriment of ordinary folk who are trying to make a living, realise some modest ambitions like living in a house with glass in the windows, (nothing flash), raising a family and saving enough for the occasional pie and beer when they are too knackered to work anymore.
They were originally employed as “permanents”. The work was at a remote site involving 12 hour days for 14 days in a row and conditions were “challenging” to say the least – remoteness, time away from family, long hours, hard work, extremes of temperature, flies and mosquito’s and very ordinary, (some would say inept), “management”.
In response to “cost pressures” the organisation decided to make all employees redundant and offer to re-employ them as “casuals” using a labour hire company to “manage” them and do the payroll.
Rates of pay offered were significantly lower than the previous full time rates and the security of rostered hours was replaced with an ad hoc arrangement where people might get 2 days on site and then be sent home only to be recalled a couple of days later for another few days or wait weeks between shifts.
Travel time used to be paid from the closest capital city to and from the site. Flights left at 6 a.m. and return flights arrived at 6 p.m. The new arrangements removed the travel time so people were paid when they set foot on site and it stopped as soon as they got on the plane to go home after 14 twelve hour work days.
How anyone is supposed to be able to make life out of this sort of arrangement mystifies me as does the uncaring approach to decent folk who might not be too sophisticated but are honest grafters who are prepared to do this rather lousy work.
There might be some people who find casual work to their liking but this situation forces those involved to lose any job security they might have had and have it replaced with uncertainty and reduced income.
Before anyone calls me a bleeding heart they need to know that I have been there and seen what goes on, and it is not pretty. The people are treated as a disposable commodity to be used for profit and chucked on the scrap heap when it suits.
And before anyone gets on their high horse and says that they should just get another job they need to see the reality of the labour market and the paucity of jobs on offer, the relentless cycle of job application, (on-line of course, through a “recruiter” of course), waiting forever with no response, being told they are unsuccessful, (if they are lucky, usually silence reigns), and then repeating it over and over again while they go broke, until it all becomes too hard.
We all know that the labour market statistics have about the same credibility as the calculation of the “global average temperature” – no rational person believes either one yet governments crow about “growth in jobs” because it serves their political purposes. It’s too bad for those who get the wrong end of the stick and no one seems to give a damn.
The casualisation of the workforce is a national disgrace and creates all sorts of problems for those who suffer its consequences going forward as it does for the nation at large when good folk need a helping hand out of the national pot. Don’t get me started on the Centrelink process which seems to be designed to trash whatever self-respect folk might have had left and make life even more miserable.