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NTEU media release: Governments must listen to Insecure Work Inquiry on need for increased investment in skills and education

Posted 16 May 2012 by Andrew Nette (NTEU National Office)

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) welcomes the report of the Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work, Lives on Hold, released at Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress in Sydney today.

NTEU echoes its key findings, particularly the need for increased investment in post secondary education and training.

Lives on Hold is the result of a nationwide six month examination into insecure employment, which now impacts nearly forty per cent of the Australian workforce,” said Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President.

“The experiences of people shared in this report are genuinely confronting. It contains stories about people who cannot plan for a future because they don’t have secure work, that feel exploited and treated like disposable commodities.”

“As the report makes clear, the key divide in our workforce is no longer between blue-collar and white collar workers, but between those who have secure work with full entitlements and those on the ‘periphery’ of the workforce who are employed in casual and contract positions.”

“As an academic, I have watched the gradual casualisation of my profession over the last decade with growing alarm.”

“As many as 77,000 out of a total university workforce of approximately 180,000 are now casually employed. More than half the undergraduate teaching in Australian universities is carried out by casual academics employed by the teaching hour.”

“Not only are we concerned about the financial and physical impacts of casual employment on the workers concerned. I constantly hear stories of talented young academics that have left the sector due to the financial and emotional stress involved. It’s a major waste of talent.”

“As the report makes clear, strategies are required on different levels to regulate and reverse the growth in insecure work, including better funding and support for life-long education and training.”

“The current level and structure of financial support for those studying is predicated on assisting young people of school leaving age.”

“It doesn’t support these people particularly well. It’s even worse when it comes to older people who have children and financial commitments that can prevent them from easily accessing further education and training, including university qualifications.”

“The release of the Lives on Hold report must be the start of a major campaign to reign in and regulate the extent of insecure work and create a more inclusive society,” said Rea.

The full report from the Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work, Lives on hold: Unlocking the potential of Australia's workforce, can be downloaded here.

For information and comment

Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President: 0434 609 531


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