TAKE A NUMBER AND STAND IN LINE! THIS REALLY IS A DISGRACE – HOWEVER, IT IS NOT SURPRISING. ITS BEEN HAPPENING TO INJURED AND ILL WORKERS FOR A LONG TIME. THIS EMPLOYER HAS JUST BEEN DUMB ENOUGH TO MAKE IT A FORMALITY. HITLER WOULD BE PROUD OF THEIR EFFICIENCY!
CASUAL workers at a warehouse in Melbourne’s west are being required to wear – and pay for – armbands identifying them as non-permanent staff.
The armbands contain employee numbers on barcodes and must be used to obtain scanning equipment needed for their work. Permanent workers at the Sunshine warehouse do not have to wear the armbands.
The case has come to light as unions raise concerns over the increased casualisation of labour. Five per cent of Australia’s workforce, or about 605,000 people, are now employed by labour hire firms, according to the Bureau of Statistics.
Labour-hire casual workers are concentrated in warehousing, manufacturing, property and business services, and health and community services.
About 15 workers at the Sunshine warehouse must have the barcoded armbands.
The workers are employed by labour hire company Manpower and the warehouse is run by logistics firm DB Schenker to ship equipment for Fuji Xerox.
While the armbands do not need to be worn at all times, the casuals must scan themselves in before starting work and carry the armbands at all times. They also have to pay for the bands.
An official with the National Union of Workers, which discovered the Sunshine armband case, said all employees should be treated with dignity, and questioned whether there was enough regulation of labour hire firms.
”The unregulated use of agency casual labour is creating an underclass that threatens our way of life,” said the union’s assistant national secretary, Paul Richardson. ”Every worker should have the right to a job they can count on and be treated with dignity at work.”
The general manager of Manpower Australia and New Zealand, Chris Riley, said the wearing of armbands was sought by the warehouse operator. ”Many of our clients require people that we place on site to wear ID badges,” he said.
He said it was Manpower’s responsibility to ensure its workers were ”not worse off in any way … We have to ensure that the work practices are appropriate for our people. But in terms of how they are identified, [that] is really another thing”.
The Recruitment and Consulting Services Association, which has many labour hire firms among its members, recently put out a report on benefits of the agencies to manage skills shortages. ”For the majority of employers, it’s not a choice of ‘hire permanent staff or hire temporary staff’. It is in fact ‘hire temporary staff or don’t hire at all’,” the report said.
The ACTU has run a campaign on what it says are the growing effects of job insecurity. It has singled out the practices of labour hire firms as an issue.
Unions say insecure jobs – those providing little economic security for workers and little control over their working lives – now account for almost 40 per cent of the workforce.
But critics say the ACTU is exaggerating. John Lloyd, former head of the construction watchdog and now at the Institute of Public Affairs, said the 40 per cent figure did ”not stand up to a lot scrutiny”.
Many business operators – about 9 per cent of the workforce – were very happy to work for themselves. ”The ACTU calls them anxious workers,” Mr Lloyd said. ”Most business operators are quite happy with what they are doing, using their own skills to create their own wealth and independence and very few of them would be running around being anxious.”
He said the same applied for many independent contractors, who also make up about 9 per cent of the workforce.