Laws would make life for labour hire miners worse: CFMEU

The miner’s union has thrown its support behind Labor’s jobs plan, saying it would stamp out the “permanent casual labour hire rort” across the industry.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese on Wednesday unveiled the first tranche of the party’s ‘secure Australian jobs plan’.

The blueprint included a crack down on “cowboy labour hire-like firms” to guarantee same job, same pay; a cap on back-to-back short-term contracts for the same role and casual work properly defined in law.

CFMEU general president Tony Maher said these measures were necessary for stamping out a practice that drove down workers’ wages and conditions.

“Workers have been speaking out loud and clear about this problem and it is well understood in mining regions, where families are left without the ability to secure home loans, take holidays together and build their lives in a way afforded by secure work,” Mr Maher said.

“The IR Omnibus Bill currently before the parliament includes an unfair definition of casual based purely on the label in your contract, not the reality of your work arrangements. And it includes weak, unenforceable casual conversion provisions that employers can easily ignore.”

The CFMEU is urging senators not to pass the IR Omnibus Bill in its current form.

Dawson MP George Christensen said he would support the bill.

“The Morrison Liberal National Government is legislating to ensure casual workers in the mining industry get the right to convert to full-time work, which is actually what the union movement and many coal miners have been calling for, for a long time,” Mr Christensen said.

“And as such I am supporting it.”

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Mr Albanese said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been “doing nothing to stop the creeping expansion of insecure work”.

“Indeed, fewer Australians can access the basic entitlements and protections earlier generations took for granted,” he said.

“Nearly a third of Australian workers are in arrangements with unpredictable, fluctuating pay and hours.

“They endure few or no protections such as sick and holiday leave, or superannuation benefits.”

A Senate Inquiry on proposed workplace law changes is expected to wrap up in March.

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