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Union leader says COVID-19 has ‘exposed’ danger of casualised work force

Tom Elliott
Article image for Union leader says COVID-19 has ‘exposed’ danger of casualised work force

Union leaders have backed the Victorian Government’s paid sick leave for casual workers policy, unveiled on Monday.

And they reject suggestions it means casual workers are “having their cake and eating it too” when it comes to worker entitlements.

Daniel Andrews said it was clear the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed Australia’s problem with casual work, with many employees risking their health (and health of others) by going to work while sick because they had no leave.

Gerard Dwyer, National Secretary for the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, agreed with that assessment.

“It sends a clear message to the rest of Australia that we have a problem and that COVID has shown the insecure work force is our Achilles heel,” he said on 3AW Drive.

“We have one of the most casualised work forces in the developed world and it’s not just a problem for those individuals, but the community as a whole.

“It actually became a health problem.”

Tom Elliott pointed out casual workers were paid more, as much as 25 per cent more, than their colleagues to off-set the fact they didn’t have entitlements such as sick leave.

Tom Elliott asked whether a fair trade off would be to reduce the casual rate, in favour of entitlements.

But Mr Dwyer said those on casual wages were already in low-paying jobs.

“They need to be getting paid more, not less,” he said.

Click PLAY below to hear more on 3AW Drive

(Picture by Getty iStock)

Tom Elliott
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