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Unions blast federal government’s moves to overturn casual paid leave win

Queensland Unions have today slammed the federal government’s enthusiasm to spend taxpayer dollars on a legal appeal that would strip away rights from casual workers.

The Federal Court yesterday ruled to protect the rights of working people who are labelled casuals purely to strip them of job security, rights and pay in a landmark ruling in the case of WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato.

However, federal LNP Attorney-General Christian Porter today vowed to appeal to the High Court in a bid to overturn a decision which means more secure work for Australian workers.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Michael Clifford said around 360,000 casual workers in Queensland – around 1.6 million workers nationwide – would benefit from the federal court decision that the LNP now wants to overturn.

“The decision gives casuals the right to paid leave entitlements if they have been working regular shifts,” he said.

“Now the federal government will launch an incredibly expensive judicial appeal to strip away this right and reverse the decision made by an independent body. But when penalty rates were cut, it said it wouldn’t interfere with the umpire’s decision.

“This government only intervenes when it disadvantages employees and benefits employers,” he said.

“Working people need more job security, this federal court decision confirms their rights to permanent rights if their job is permanent.

“The practice of finding ways to label jobs as “casual” when they are in fact permanent has to stop,” he said.

“This has stripped workers of rights and security.

“Look at how many hospitality workers are denied the JobKeeper payment because they are deemed “casual” despite working the same shifts over and over.

“COVID-19 has shown how precarious and casual employment can undermine the stability of an economy, so it beggars belief that the federal government is now fighting to entrench that insecurity,” he said.