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CPSU: continuing the fight for permanent employment
FOR many years the CPSU has worked hard to secure the working future of our members by highlighting the need for permanent jobs.
We lobbied very hard to ensure the State Service Act 2000 mandated that permanent employment is the normal form of employment in the public sector with fixed term employment only to be used to backfill a permanent employee on leave, to undertake a specific project that has clear start and finish points or to trial a new arrangement that may not be continued.
In 2007 we ran a campaign entitled ‘Is it fair’ that highlighted the disadvantages of fixed term employment and through a moratorium thousands of fixed term workers, who were wrongly employed, were converted to permanent. As a result of all this activity the Tasmanian public sector has the lowest percentage of fixed term employment of any public sector in Australia. Since 1998 the number of fixed term employees has fallen by almost 60% while the number of permanent positions has increase by around 30%.
Despite these successes we need to remain vigilant. From time to time we see areas slide back into the practice of employing on a fixed term basis and we need to challenge the reasons for using fixed term arrangements. Through the current Wages negotiations with government we are discussing how the initial appointment of a fixed term employee can be done in such a way that, should the work continue, the employee can be simply converted to permanent.
We are also investigating other employment arrangements that undermine job security. There have recently been a number of reports of Agencies using temporary employment agencies to get around the State Service Act. In these cases the workers are not actually employed under the State Service Act and they are not paid the same wages and conditions of their work colleagues. This not only undermines the job security of these workers but it threatens the working conditions of all public sector workers.
Permanent employment is vital to job security. The CPSU will continue to fight to retain permanent employment as the normal form of employment in the Tasmanian public sector. If you see permanent employment being undermined in your workplace then let us know so we can work together to stamp it out.