|Issue No 6||26 March 1999|
Union Plan To Give Mobile Workers Security
A privately-operated fund to provide mobile entitlements like long service leave to workers who change jobs regularly is being developed by the AMWU.
AMWU assistant national secretary Dave Oliver says the idea is a response to the shift from long-term permanent jobs to more precarious employment within the manufacturing industry.
"Workers who do not have long-term job security are losing many of the benefits the union movement has won, such as long service leave," he says.
"We want to set up a mechanism to allow workers who have put in ten years service, even if it is to several employers, to be able to take a decent break.
The scheme would also be available to employees of labour hire firms, who could then access annual leave from a central point.
The intiative is based on the NSW Construction Industry Long Service Leave scheme, but will be run by a private fund manager rather than the government.
Under the proposal, the fund manager would levy employers for long service leave and then invest it, so that LSL could be paid at the furture rate, even if it was paid at a lower rate at the time.
Profits above the LSL payments could then be invested back into the manufacturing sector for job-creating projects.
The AMWU also believes the fund could also provide a mechanism for protecting workers entitlements when a firm collapses, often leaving employees with no accrued leave or redundancy payments.
And it would provide a model for unions in other industries grappling with the implications of casual and part-time work.
"The trust scheme would also address many of the concerns about the insecurity of employee entitlements in cases of insolvency," Oliver says
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