Divided stand on job protection

July 28, 2000

The guide to good practice in fixed-term and casual employment is advice from the employers' association to its members, but it binds them to nothing. It is all about managing, not reducing, casual work. The approach - justifying casual employment through short-term funding, treating fixed-term staff more fairly and sacking them legally - is way behind what the AUT has achieved through local negotiation on service conditions in some institutions.

The AUT will not undermine progress made by local negotiators by endorsing a document that will do nothing to reduce casual employment.

Such employment is increasingly anachronistic. It is funded out of increasing income streams, although employers, stuck in a time warp, call them "insecure". One wonders how commercial organisations ever manage to use open-ended contracts.

Will employers insist on using casual work and low pay to drive out talent for long enough to destroy the quality of higher education or will they come to their senses?

For the record, it is the Universities and Colleges Employers Association that keeps pulling out of national pay negotiations, not the AUT.

David Green

President elect, AUT

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