June 7, 2018

Decades of failed trickle-down economics have left Australia with a crisis of insecure work and stagnant wage growth – in fact, for the first time ever, less than half of all Australian workers are employed full-time with entitlements.

But for women, the situation is even worse. This is why the ACTU today launched its Change the Rules for Working Women campaign.

Because of our broken rules, according to TWU (VIC/TAS Branch) Secretary and TWU National Vice-President John Berger, women get paid less, are disproportionately affected by insecure work and underemployment, have lower super balances and, therefore, more likely to retire in poverty.

“Real change must happen for women workers, especially around the gender pay gap, flexible work arrangements, secure jobs and penalty rates,” John said.

“Women workers are being hit very hard by our broken rules, so they also have much to gain when they change. I encourage every Australian woman to join a union and become a change agent.”

John said women are the majority in groups which will benefit from the restoration of a living wage and penalty rates, a fairer and more independent workplace umpire, more equitable working arrangements for the 85% of Australians who have caring responsibilities, changes to the superannuation system to ensure that no one retires in poverty, and securing 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence leave for all Australian workers.

Polling conducted for the ACTU by Cadreon shows women are ready to change the rules.

  • 66% of women think that business have too much power, compared to 54% of men.

  • 63% of women oppose cuts to penalty rates, compared to 50% of men.

  • 54% of women think the results of cutting penalty rates will result in businesses making more profits, not employing more people or delivering wage rises, compared to 47% of men.

  • 67% of women say they have not had a pay rise in the last twelve months, compared to 61% of men.

  • Only 31% of women have had a wage rise in the last twelve months, compared to 39% of men.

  • 52% of women think that it is harder to get a wage rise that covers the cost of living compared to 45% of men.

  • Both men and women have similar levels of concern around the levels of insecurity they feel in their work.

A video about Lorraine, a support teacher who spent 18 years in insecure work, can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/tL50t0XT540

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