Government Stance on Public Sector Job Security Should Be Widened to Include Private Sector

Release date: 14/11/2012

The strong stand on public sector job security taken by the Federal Government against ideologically driven Liberal State Government’s is to be congratulated but this should be extended to address outsourcing and offshoring by companies such as Qantas/Jetstar. That’s according to Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU).

Tony was speaking on the Government’s proposed changes to the Fair Work Act that would extend “transfer of business” provisions to Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, which have passed the House of Representatives and are due for debate in the Senate in the coming weeks.

“I would like to congratulate the Government, and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten in particular, for legislating to protect the entitlements of public sector workers threatened by aggressive public sector job-cuts from their Liberal State governments. The proposed extension of the Act will ensure that public sector employers can no longer undercut their existing workforce by outsourcing jobs to the private sector.”

“While this action is very welcome, what is now needed is for policy makers to address the actions of companies such as Qantas/Jetstar, who undercut their own staff with causal labour hire workers, both nationally and internationally. With over 3,300 Australian jobs already cut by existing management at Qantas/Jetstar, our country’s policy makers need to understand that these are real people with families and mortgages who need certainty that their jobs cannot be outsourced and undercut - either nationally or internationally.”

“Unless we address the issue of international outsourcing, we will continue to see situations where employers exploit foreign workers. The Fair Work Ombudsman is currently prosecuting Jetstar for illegally crewing domestic Australian flights with Thai flight attendants, some paid as little as $400 per month. These Thai flight attendants are being forced to work four-seven day shifts, including double and triple shift rosters on Australian domestic routes, raising serious safety and ethical concerns.”

“What Minister Shorten is steering through Parliament is a step in the right direction, but we must not stop there. We cannot ensure the future of Australian industry and the security of Australian jobs, until the legal loopholes that allow management at Australian companies like Qantas/Jetstar to undercut their own loyal workforce with Australian and international labour hire workers, are firmly closed.”

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