Page 1214 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022
One problem is overly rigid rostering. Our current agreement says that if you want permanent full-time or part-time work you must work a Monday to Friday week. You can only work on weekends on a casual basis or as an extra shift. This is a big deterrent for many people who might otherwise apply, but I think it is a particularly big deterrent for women with children or people that they are taking care of. I asked questions about this in my very first estimates. I asked how women with kids are meant to work if they do not know when and whether they will be working each week.
I was told they get a few days notice. When I had a baby, I was on the day care waitlist for 12 months. I called up every single week to see if they had a place, sometimes in tears. It took 12 months to get day care. We could not find a reliable babysitter; it is really difficult to do that in Canberra. There is no way I could have taken a casual job that gave me three days notice with maybe some shifts.
The casualisation of our workforce is a problem for everyone but it is particularly bad for a few groups of people. It really affects women and parents. It affects anybody who is a primary caretaker. Permanent part-time work that allows work on a weekend would be really valuable for these people. I think a lot of parents would love to work when their partner is home to look after the kids and they could dodge that whole morning and afternoon drop-off and squishing work hours around that.
Casual work also affects those who have a disability or chronic illness, or those caring for someone in that situation. Carers may struggle to reconcile a five-day work week with the reality that all of their medical appointments are Monday to Friday. It takes months to book one of those appointments and you cannot miss one. It would be great to have permanent work on a weekend and to have some permanent days off during the week.
This kind of rostering also affects people at the ends of their careers, who often want permanent part-time work that is a bit more flexible. It is also a real problem for tertiary students and young people, who often like to work weekends and like to have permanent part-time work that they can factor around their study. We moved rapidly beyond a Monday to Friday society during COVID. Our government understands the need to support flexible working hours, and we really need to make sure that we are offering this kind of reliable, permanent work to more people than just the ones who can currently access it.
I am really looking forward to seeing an enterprise bargaining agreement that achieves this. I know it is possible to get, because we have done it in so many other industries. I have intentionally held back from offering specific solutions in my motion because there is a negotiation underway and I do not want to interfere with it. But I have named the problem, I have named some of the people it affects, and I have called for the outcome we need. I am really confident we will get there.
I have based this motion on research and data and my lifelong experience of living in Canberra and knowing a bit about how the buses work. I have also spoken to the transport minister, the TWU, the Public Transport Association of Canberra, Women in Transport, and a lot of Canberrans who catch the bus or would like to. We Greens