More job stability and better financial security for working people and their families will be the focus of a special meeting of the ACTU Executive with Labor Leader Mark Latham today.

Speaking in advance of the meeting with over 60 leaders of Australia’s major unions in Sydney today at 2pm, ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“Job instability among Australians is now rife with a survey released yesterday finding one in five workers believing they will be retrenched this year.

  • ABS data also shows that casual employment is now at record levels with more
    than 2.2 million people – a quarter of the workforce – now employed on a casual
    basis (28%).
  • Casual workers miss out on basic job entitlements that most take for granted
    including sick leave, holiday leave, or a paid day off to care for a sick child.
    The lack of entitlements is especially unfair for long-term casuals – for
    example, almost half a million casuals have been with their employer more than
    five years.
  • Today’s meeting will discuss ways to improve job stability including through
    Labor’s new policy giving long-term casuals the option to convert to permanent
  • The financial pressure that working people face as well as the difficulty of balancing work and family will be the other major item for discussion at today’s meeting.

  • New ACTU research shows that a Howard Government tax bias against low and
    middle income people means almost three quarters of taxpayers – those earning
    less than $48,000 a year – are paying up to $650 a year more in tax.
  • At the same time, low income people have been hit with big price rises for
    basic services under the Coalition: health costs have jumped 28%, dental costs
    are up 46%, education costs are up 53% and home ownership costs are up 37%.
  • Balancing work and family responsibilities is a major concern for union
    members and yet the Howard Government has failed to deliver on a much-needed
    national paid maternity leave scheme for working mothers.
  • We know low and middle income Australians are losing out under the Coalition Government and we want to discuss with Mark Latham how unions and a future Labor Government can work together to promote job stability and financial security for all.”

    Doorstop Media Conference

    Sharan Burrow – ACTU President
    1:45 pm TODAY- Thursday 6 May 2004
    (Photo opportunity of Mark Latham with ACTU Executive at 2pm)
    NSW Labor Council – 9th Floor
    377-383 Sussex Street , Sydney
    Media Contact: Ian Wilson 0408 513 849