In marking Social Justice Sunday 27 August, the St Vincent De Paul Society has launched its new policy statement on secure work for all Australians.
In a statement released last week, the Society’s noted its position on secure work is underpinned by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching which prioritise the dignity of the person.
Work should be, the statement explained, for the common good, with employees treated as people first and not units of labour to be used for purely economic ends.
“As a lay Catholic organisation, the Society supports workers’ rights to safe and fair working conditions and a minimum wage based on justice and equity – one that covers the actual needs of a person, and provides them with flexibility, as well as security for the future,” the statement said.
The Society also supports the restatement of commitments made at the ALP’s 49th National Conference towards making Australia a decent work and fair wage country, with a minimum wage that is a living wage.
The type of casual employment that exists in Australia is shared by no other developed country.
Lacking is the guarantee of working hours or continued employment, entitlements to paid leave and specification in industrial awards of higher minimum rates of pay than apply to non-casual employees.
“If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that casual and insecure employment disproportionately impacts vulnerable groups, including women, young people, people on visas and people living with disability,” said National President, Mr Mark Gaetani.
“Insecure employment is prevalent in sectors where employees have been chronically underpaid, such as in retail, hospitality, health, child and aged care.
“We welcome efforts by the Australian Government to increase wages in the child and aged care sectors, and in the passing of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment Bill 2022,” Mr Gaetani added.
The Society calls on the Australian Government to:
• implement commitments made to address wage suppression and undervalued jobs
• implement the ALP’s National Platform to review mutual obligation requirements and employment programs to provide the help that people need based on trust and shared accountabilities
• implement pathways to assist the underemployed and the long-term unemployed.
The Society continues to advocate for:
• minimum standards for new forms of work, such as gig work
• same job, same pay conditions for labour hire workers
• a national labour hire licensing scheme to ensure minimum legal standards are met
• improved access to jobs and training pathways and equity targets for training places.
To view the SVDP new advocacy materials on secure work please see: Secure work.