A recent trend in the workforce over the past two years, in particular, has been the move toward casualisation. Rather than employing full-time workers, mining companies have preferred to engage employment contractors who then source workers. Employment contractors employ workers on a casual basis, rather than full-time. As a casual, a worker has less job security and often a lower pay than when they worked as a full-time employee of the mine. Casuals also have difficulty securing a mortgage because of their employment status. This has been a problem in other sectors for a long time, particularly in hospitality. Major political parties have defended mining company use of casual labour because the practice is operating within the rules (mostly) and is in the best interests of big business.
- Workplace regulations need to dictate that a worker doing the same job, working 38 hours a week or more, for years on end is a full-time worker and should not be employed as a casual.
- More needs to be done to crack down on breaches of the law in this space, particularly in instances where full-time workers are made redundant and casual workers are employ to do, substantially, the same job.