Casual workers struggle to put food on the table

A recent Tasmanian study commissioned by Anglicare has shown that whilst casual work hurts many young workers, it is also having a devastating effect on older workers. The study showed that one in four casual workers were 40 years of age or older and many were struggling to put food on the table.

Key findings of the survey of 2000 Tasmanians included:

One in five, about 40,000 Tasmanian workers, were casuals.

Nearly half wanted a permanent job.

Workers on very long hours wanted less, yet part-timers were under-employed.

Thousands had no superannuation and would rely on taxpayer-funded pensions.

One-quarter of casuals worried about food.

The report said that despite jobs growth, more than 7000 Tasmanians had been on unemployment payments for two years-plus, nearly half the 16,900 on Newstart.

Report author Kelly Madden said only 18 per cent or less than one in five casuals were studying, despite the perception casual work was concentrated only among young students.

“Many casual workers are in the prime of their working lives and many would prefer to have the security of permanent employment,” Madden said. “It’s particularly worrying one-third are on incomes low enough for them to have a Commonwealth concession card and are worrying about whether the amount of food they can afford will be enough for the household.

“Worryingly, we found nearly one in 10 casuals have no super at all, 40 per cent of unemployed have no super and, most alarmingly, 57 per cent not in the labour force (and aged under 60) don’t have any superannuation.”

With over 27% of workers in Australia now employed on a casual basis this problem is of massive proportions. With Howard’s new IR laws in place and unfair dismissal laws effectively abolished many more Australian workers are now subject to new levels of job insecurity. UNITE will continue to put casualisation on the political agenda and campaign to link the fight against casualisation to the fight against Howard’s IR laws.