Thursday, January 2, 2014


Hello Ged, (President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions)

Last year you wrote to me (well, in a form letter along with 1000's of others) and assured me that you'd be campaigning for more rights for casual and contract workers during 2013. 

"Too many Australians are finding themselves trapped in casual and contract jobs with no security and no opportunity to plan ahead."

I took you at your word and posted your letter on my blog called Working Casual - The New Black;

Canberra Institute of Technology where I once worked was 'outed' as  a bullying workplace by workplace Commissioner Mark McCabe in 2010. He stated in his report that the amount of casuals that CIT kept was one of the very ways CIT bullied, or were able to bully.

Since that time, I have asked the commissioner  tasked with running the investigation Andrew Kefford, what was being done about this particular point in McCabe's report. Andrew Kefford has replied to some letters I have sent him and I have met with him twice yet he studiously ignores this particular question. Our own AEU ACT Branch don't seem to be doing anything useful either. Our TAFE organiser is a terrific person and has run ragged trying to help with the bullying issue and I am VERY suspicious that this persons contract is not being renewed for 2014 ... was this person too much of a 'hot potato?'

Seems to me that casuals and those on 'casual contracts' - a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one, will continue to be ignored. This especially affects women like myself who worked casually while bringing up children and now find it almost impossible to get secure full time and/or permanent work - and, we tend to have next to no superannuation. Despite  Federal Governments (former and current) calling on us to work for longer, there is a huge amount of age discrimination in the workforce particularly against women.

Indeed, a previous ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr, stated on radio when asked about forward staffing for the school year that, "We are concentrating on employing new young graduates to the (ACT) college system". This is despite the fact that new teachers have a burn out rate of 5 years only in the job. I put it to the staffing officer after they asked me for the THIRD time to go and 'save the situation' after a walk out at a school by a so-called 'super grad', that considering I have been teaching for 20 years chances are I will be around for another 20. I therefore, at just over 50 am a much safer bet than a 22 year old, but am considered 'on the scrap heap'.

To this end, could you please let me know what steps the union have taken during 2013 to deal with these issues and what you might be looking to do this year in 2014?

Lorese Vera


Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that this year’s federal election will be held on Saturday, 14 September.

It is up to us to make sure the election is decided on the real issues of importance for the future of Australians, such as job and income security and investment in public services and decent jobs.

Here at the Unions Australia contact centre, we've received thousands of calls over the last 12 months from people who are concerned about their pay rates, job security and unfair rostering.

Too many Australians are finding themselves trapped in casual and contract jobs with no security and no opportunity to plan ahead.

I promise to campaign through this year to ensure that the issues of job security, income security and rights at work are front and centre for all political parties. We will make it clear to politicians that how they respond to these concerns will be a big factor in how they are judged at the ballot box.

Now that we know when the election will be held, there is no excuse for Tony Abbott to keep the public in the dark about his plans.

Help us with this campaign, by joining us on Facebook and sharing this message with your friends and family. Together, we can make sure that on September 14th, we vote to protect secure jobs.

In solidarity,
Ged Kearney

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