LABOUR MARKET INEQUALITY REARS UGLY HEAD FOR FARM WORKERS AT PERFECTION FRESH IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
04 Aug 2017
In Adelaide today, the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Brendan O'Connor met with farm workers and their union to discuss their lived experience of rising inequality in the labour market.
Farm workers at Perfection Fresh face insecure jobs, low wages and the overwhelming majority are working in casual positions when they really should be employed on a full time permanent basis.
Of the 440 workers, only 70 have permanent jobs, while hundreds of casual workers have worked consistently in an ongoing manner roles for over 12 months and in some cases for more than 7 years.
These workers do the hard yards, preparing the produce sold in the multi-billion dollar supermarket industry, yet they are left at the bottom on low pay and insecure work.
This is an example of the severing of the link between hard work and fair reward. Over the past four years, labour productivity has risen nearly 6 per cent while real wages have actually fallen 0.6 per cent.
The Turnbull Government has not lifted a finger to support workers in this country.
For the past four years, we've seen this government launch a relentless attack on working people and their representatives.
Under the Turnbull Government we've wage growth stall and penalty rates slashed, while tax relief is provided for those on the highest of incomes and for big business, and tax increases for the remaining 80 per cent of the workforce.
This visit follows Mr O'Connor's speech at The Sydney Institute on Wednesday night, which identified the consequences of the tilt in bargaining power away from workers to employers.
Without a doubt, the dwindling of power from workers to their employers is having an impact on the inequality we see in today's labour market - the flat wage growth, the proliferation of insecure work, the falling share of GDP accruing to employees, and the relative impoverishment of low skilled workers.
The priorities of federal Labor starts with jobs and wages and tackling inequality in the labour market.