Fully-employed economy a con - Aussie Stock Forums

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  1. #1
    Rotaredom wayneL's Avatar
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    Jul 2004

    Default Fully-employed economy a con

    Interesting article from ABC news. What do folks think about this?


    Buoyant, fully-employed economy a false image

    By Victor Quirk

    Since the late 1980s, Australian workers have been increasingly forced into temporary and casual jobs, in which the number of hours of paid employment varies from day to day and week to week, making the Australian labour market highly casualised by OECD standards.

    In 1986, the Commonwealth Bureau of Labour Market Research warned that this change in the structure of the labour market meant that counting people as "employed" when they did one hour of work, which is how it is still done, would increasingly understate the real level of unemployment.

    This is because a person who wants to work a 35-hour week every week, but only averages five hours of work, is counted as "employed" rather than 30 hours per week "unemployed". Additionally, the splitting of a permanent job into two casual jobs counts as having created a "new job", even if these add up to fewer hours of employment than the job they replace.

    If a person works for one week for 35 hours, they are said to have had a "full-time job", even if they are unemployed for the next 51 weeks. Both major parties have exploited public ignorance of these anomalies to allow them to use unemployment as an economic lever while avoiding the electoral backlash for doing so.

    A more accurate hours-based Labour Force Survey would ask respondents how many hours they were employed in a given week, and how many hours they would have preferred. Some may express a desire to work fewer hours, and some to work more, producing a net figure indicating the extent to which the available labour force was not being utilised.

    Recognising the significance of this issue, and following work by the Newcastle-based Centre of Full Employment and Equity to develop and promote such hours-based measures, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has undertaken annual hours-based surveys for several years.

    Earlier this month the ABS published the results of one conducted in September 2006. By this measure, over nine per cent of the willing labour force is not employed.

    Given the depth of economic insecurity that this creates in the community, the lack of industrial disputation, despite the worst attack on workers rights in 70 years, is nothing to wonder at. Nor are skill shortages due to full employment. They actually arise because the public sector no longer produces the tradespeople it once did when it was a major employer of apprentices.

    Cuts to public education mean we do not produce the other professionals our nation needs. Australia's image of economic buoyancy rests on unprecedented levels of private debt, ultimately driven by the drain on the finances of households and firms caused by the Commonwealth sucking billions out of circulation with every budget surplus, instead of investing in public infrastructure, employment and skills.

    Fuelling debt and unemployment this way creates the polarisation of wealth and power that benefits the campaign donors and other gatekeepers to political power. The use of discredited "persons-based" measures of unemployment ensures the public remain ignorant of its continuing role in their disempowerment. The image of a buoyant, fully employed economy is false.

    -Victor Quirk is a PhD student and research assistant at the University of Newcastle Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE).

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fully-employed economy a con

    Well I have an Ad running almost continuously in the Employment section.

    For excavator operators and labourers.I wouldnt say there is an over supply of either.Infact there is a definate under supply of career minded employees in any field.

    On the CASUAL ISSUE.

    Most request to be casual.
    (1) More pay
    (2) They treat employment like flexi time.---I'm only casual--.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fully-employed economy a con

    Quote Originally Posted by tech/a View Post
    Well I have an Ad running almost continuously in the Employment section.

    For excavator operators and labourers.I wouldnt say there is an over supply of either.Infact there is a definate under supply of career minded employees in any field.

    On the CASUAL ISSUE.

    Most request to be casual.
    (1) More pay
    (2) They treat employment like flexi time.---I'm only casual--.
    That's about what I would have thought in anything to do with building and allied fields. Outside of those trades, I wonder. Be interesting to get other folks views.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fully-employed economy a con

    The scaffold industry is based on casual labourer and the only fulltime work is on the major construction sites that may last 12months to 3 years.
    My little co works only in the domestic scene where the work is haphazard ranging from flatout down to about 20% of capacity. Like you say wayne all the guys remain on the books though, whether they do 2 days out of 7 or 7 days out of 7.
    Plus i'd add we have a bookeeper who is directly employed by us but comes in for 8 -12 per week.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fully-employed economy a con

    wayne, very interesting
    I notice a couple of comments posted there :-
    david thomas: 19 Apr 2007 11:45:50pm

    The doctoring of statistics such as employment numbers has been a political joke for a long time and has created an underclass who are at the mercy of the powerful and greedy.
    Governments have been allowed to get away with doctoring the figures because we have swallowed their spin and we will contue to do so until this data is taken out of the governments hands and given to an independant body like the reserve bank but unfortunatly that will not happen because the will for political survival is too great to resist for any politician or political party.
    All they care about is getting re-elected and keeping their head in the trough.
    Reply Agree (0) Alert moderator
    Shea Watt: 19 Apr 2007 3:54:04pm
    Howard is a master of doing whatever he likes while keeping us in the dark.

    The unfairness of the way he represents unemployment mirrors the unfair way he has transformed the workplace. Introducing a GST, selling off public assets and rolling out WorkChoices have all been done without voter approval and have all led to unprecedented personal debt among working Australians.

    This should be Labor's focus in the campaign to the election.
    Interesting that Labour came out with their proposed Fair Work Australia today.

    Has Labour gone too far? - just as Howard probably went too far the other way with recent legislation? In the end it depends how the rules will be interpreted. The devil will be in the detail as they say.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems...4/s1907467.htm Labor says if elected at this year's federal election it will create a new body called Fair Work Australia, to replace the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) and act as an independent umpire in industrial disputes
    Couple of stories:-

    #1. I was involved with a worksite in HK, where we employed about 50 blokes , including 11 on one site where we had about 18 months continuous work for them in a precasting yard ( making bridge girders). One bloke decided to tell his 10 friends to slow down (overtime etc), and reinforced his message by bringing a knife to work to threaten them. We told him he was sacked. The others (intimidated) said "if he is sacked, we leave also - to a man" . We said "ok, if that's what you want, but we're not taking him back". Next day we all fronted the HK Industrial commission - who sided with us. We employed a team of 11 new blokes, trained them up, within a week back to full speed ahead.

    #2. I was also a director in a business in Sydney we employed 36 blokes (engineering factory) - one bloke didnt turn up one monday - after a week we employed someone else to take his place (critical to the team). After another week he came back, asking for his job back, and claiming he'd been sick - incidentally we knew that he had been working elsewhere for this fortnight - went to Industrial Relations Commission - his wife turned up with a young child and (weeping) claimed to have rung us on the first monday to tell us he was sick ( no way - and why hadn't he rung anyway ??) - and although they had credibility of zilch, the only way out of it for us was to come up with $5K. (that was $5K out of the pockets of the directors, and we could ill afford it believe me).

    So I hope it doesn't sink to those levels again
    (But maybe a change of govt would still be healthy - just to stop us falling off the right hand edge of the world )
    PS In the end it will depend on what rules this new Commission operates under, not what it's called.
    In the end, if it isn't shown to be fair to all, then it will also get the flick the following election.

    But back on thread, whoever is is power will twist those stats.
    Like the NSW govt saying that the hospital waiting list was under control then
    the VERY next day after the election, lol - like on the monday, a heap of people turned up for operations scheduled months before, only to be told that they were postponed for several weeks , lol.

    "All they care about is getting re-elected and keeping their head in the trough."
    Last edited by 2020hindsight; 26th-April-2007 at 10:31 PM.

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