May 30, 2019
The Morrison Government has intervened to wind back the CFMEU’s court win in the matter of Queensland coal miner Paul Skene, which found he was entitled to backpaid annual leave as he was not genuinely casual.
The full Federal Court will this week hear the matter of WorkPac v Rossato, a case brought by labour hire giant WorkPac in response to Skene.
Scott Morrison’s Jobs Minister Kelly O’Dwyer, who is quitting politics at the election, has intervened in the case with a submission strongly objecting to ripped off casuals being compensated for unpaid leave entitlements, dismissing it as ‘double-dipping’.
CFMEU Mining and Energy General Secretary Grahame Kelly said the Morrison Government was showing its true colours by backing mining bosses over casual workers.
The LNP Government’s intervention to wind back casual rights will give big mining companies the green light to keep exploiting casual labour hire workers, he said.
“This Government has not only stood by and allowed the widespread casualisation of permanent jobs, it is now using the courts to try and stop casuals who have been ripped off under dodgy, unlawful employment arrangements from being compensated.
“Let’s be clear, there is no double-dipping. Casual labour hire workers like Paul Skene work regular full-time hours on advance rosters but are paid less than the permanent workers next to them, as well as missing out on paid leave and having no job security.
“By claiming legitimate compensation is an undeserved ‘windfall’, this government is showing how completely out of touch it is with the concerns of working Australians.”
The Skene decision does not affect small business and is most relevant to mining multinationals. WorkPac supplies labour to global mining giants like BHP, Glencore and AngloAmerican.
The CFMEU will strongly defend the principle of the Skene decision and intends to pursue claims for mineworkers falsely classified as casuals. Stronger laws are needed to prevent the ‘permanent casual’ labour hire rort in coal mining.