The Guardian October 4, 2000


UTLC launches casual workers rights week

The goal of eight hours work, eight hours play and eight hours rest, 
first won by stonemasons in 1856, is slipping backwards for an increasing 
number of Australian workers.

The massive growth in casual work  now representing one in three female 
and one in five male workes, has forced the union movement to re-evaluate 
its approach to casual workers.

The United Trades and Labor Council of South Australia is this week 
launching a new publication on casual workers' rights, Get Smart, 
along with a survey report on young causal workers.

They were produced in collaboration with the Young Christian Workers and 
the Working Women's Centre.

"Australia is second only to Spain in our growth of casual workers among 
OECD countries", said Michelle Hogan, the UTLC Assistant Secretary.

"Instead of casuals being used in short, irregular work, we increasingly 
see casuals employed regularly, but with none of the security of permanent 
work", said Ms Hogan.

Not a Casual Affair found that 44 per cent of the young workers 
interviewed did not know the correct rate of pay for their work; 25 per 
cent were not paid the correct rate; 50 per cent did not know the legal 
shift length; and 20 per cent were paid "cash in hand".

During the week there will be seminars, discussion groups to consider union 
strategies and create awareness of their rights and the importance of trade 
unions. There will also be a casual work and students' information stall at 
the Adelaide and Flinders Universities.

UTLC's Casual Workers Week is extremely important, not just for the casual 
workers who are denied their rights, but for all workers and their trade 
unions.

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