Australia’s surprisingly secure workers, part 5

The ACTU made much of their claim that WorkChoices reduced job security, as part of their fight against weakened “unfair” dismissal laws. But it is surprisingly hard to find evidence that the legal arrangements surrounding employment security have any significant effect on either subjective job security (how highly people rate their chances of keeping their job) or objective job security (the actual rate of retrenchment).

The ABS labour mobility survey, released yesterday and covering the 12 months to February 2008 (ie, all under WorkChoices dismissal law), reinforces this point. Were there mass sackings as employers unfairly took advantage of additional rights to do so? To the contrary, the proportion of people who left their last job involuntarily through redundancy, dismissal or lack of work fell to 1.8% of all people who held a job in that 12 months, certainly the lowest since 1990, and quite probably the lowest ever recorded.* (I don’t have the 1980s surveys, but this is better than the 2.7% in 1972, at the tail end of the long post-war boom).
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