Thursday, 26 November 2015

The life of a casual here today.

It was early Monday morning and the staff gathered for their early morning exercise regimen and the routine pep talk from management. About 40 people present for the early morning experience. Ah but today it was different.

Ok, guys, we've been told by people further up the pole to inform you that the worst performed worker will be going home at 9.30 cutting their scheduled shift in half. As a casual worker, you can be sent home yet this is different. The person who is unfortunate enough to be the lowest is singled out and sent home in shame. Embarrassed humiliated in front of people that some have worked with for 3 years. The employer shows no regard welfare or duty of care to the hired help.Whilst it breaches laws in OHS it isn't enforced with any vigour by the authority. Oh if said employee went home and harmed themselves the directors down would be in a poultice of trouble.
I've had dealings with WorkSafe and they are rather blase about enforcement depending generally on who the culprits are and what the relationship is like. That's another issue.

When workers are casual they live with the uncertainty.They are bullied into working overtime when required. Then cut back when business drops. Companies are now manipulating the system by having multiple agencies on 1 site so nobody gets overtime when it can be avoided. They are also using a 38 hour week to make the weekend work at normal rates. I suggest this in many cases is illegal dependent on the award involved. The conundrum for the casual worker is if they question it or anything else they are easily discarded. Fair Work Australia isn't a gummy shark but it's not user-friendly to casual employees. Many casual workers wouldn't know what their rights are. Employers abuse this with great regularity.

This will, of course, all adversely affect the morale of staff and eventually, it will be lose-lose for all concerned. I think it's incredibly shortsighted unfair and probably negligent behaviour, but with the amount of labour hire in Australia, I'd be surprised if it isn't common place. This may be how the pyramids were erected post haste but it ain't no way to treat workers.

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