It's good to see the little guy get a win every now and then, don't you think?
Earlier this year casual workers were given the right to request permanency in a historic Fair Work Commission decision.
A few months later, a multi-national corporation has become the first company fined for refusing to give a permanent position to a casual employee.
In the Federal Court decision on October 16, Toll Transport were ordered to pay $42,500 in penalties, including $10,000 for refusing Joshua Tomvald's request to go permanent.
Joshua is covered by a Union negotiated Enterprise Agreement, which secured him a little more protection than non-unionised workers relying on the Award, but the Federal Court's message to all Employers was very clear:
Refuse valid requests for permanency at your own peril.
Security worker Amit believes this decision is really important, because it will help many hard working people like himself to feel more secure in their work life and home life too.
"Having a permanent job is the biggest relief, especially if you want to buy a house. The first thing the bank asks you is: have you got a full time job? If you haven't got a permanent job, good luck!
"With a permanent job you have guaranteed hours, you know how much money you are going to get in your pay. It makes life much more peaceful."
"It takes away the stress of not knowing if you will have enough to pay your bills next week" said Amit.
Does this decision mean the end of insecure work?
Not a chance. The decision means employers now know they run the risk of facing significant fines, if they refuse requests for permanency without a valid reason, but it's not going to solve the growing problem of insecure work.
Right now about 40% of working Australians are trapped in insecure work, either as casuals, on short-term contracts, in labour hire, on temporary work visas or as “independent” contractors.
These decisions will only help a small percentage of those workers, and the rules of our industrial relations system continue to be stacked against the interests of working people.
This is most clear in the recent decision to cut penalty rates for hundreds of thousands of hospitality and retail employees.
In fact, it seems pretty rare for the rules to work in the interests of workers at all these days.
But we can and will change that.
Australian Union members are working together to do just that. Want to know what you can do?