Australia’s surprisingly secure workers, part 3

Not all the data reported in Australia@Work follows the union line. The unions have persistently argued that WorkChoices reduces job security. For example, in the ACTU’s one year on report on WorkChoices, released in March this year, Sharran Burrow claimed:

Job security for Australian workers has been eroded – with 3,761,000 Australian workers employed in businesses with less than 100 staff having lost any protection from being unfairly dismissed.

Yet as I have argued in the past, there is little evidence that variations in employment law have much impact on how likely someone is to be dismissed. While statutes may make getting rid of unnecessary or incompetent employees more time-consuming and costly, it has nearly always been possible. Even where sacking is legally difficult, employers can encourage ‘voluntary’ departures by giving unwanted employees boring work, or treating them poorly.

In Australia@Work, employees were asked to agree or disagree with the statement that:

There is a good chance that I will lose my job or be retrenched within the next twelve months.

About 9% agreed or strongly agreed. I can’t find an exact pre-WorkChoices comparison point, but neither of the two 2005 surveys I have found suggest that things have deteriorated since. The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes asked:

Continue reading “Australia’s surprisingly secure workers, part 3”