Social justice bishop highlights "great concern" over casual workers
Australia cannot be described as a fair society if the growing number of casual workers are denied basic workers' rights, according to Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Chairman Bishop William Morris.
In a Pastoral Letter for today's Feast of St Joseph the Worker, he said that while increased flexibility in the labour force has its advantages, but we should be aware that sometimes this flexibility comes at a cost to workers and their families.
"Casual workers not only enjoy less security in the tenure of their positions," he said, "But also less 'income security' as a result of a fluctuating number of hours worked each pay period, and less 'working time security' because of changes to work shift times and rosters from week to week."
Pointing out that casual employment was permitted in order to accommodate industries that experence seasonal fluctuations, Bishop Morris said it is a matter of "great concern" that between 1984 and 1997 over 60 per cent of new jobs created were casual jobs.
Bishop Morris stressed that questions relating to work conditions are fundamental to building a just society.
"This is why teachings about work and the rights and duties of workers have been central to the Church's teachings about social justice," he said. "It has continued to call attention to the dignity and rights of workers, and to raise its voice in situations where that dignity and those rights are violated."
Casual Work: the Costs of Flexibility (ACSJC)
30 Apr 2002