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Business slams union bid on casuals

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016

A leading business group warns a union push to limit the way employers use casual staff will cost the economy $3.7 billion a year and lead to 19,000 fewer full-time jobs.

As part of the four-yearly review of modern awards, the ACTU is seeking to change the way business takes on casual and part-time employees.

"The union agenda is selfish and antiquated," Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson wrote in The Australian on Thursday.

It viewed casual and part-time work as inferior to permanent and full-time work, despite many employees and employers preferring the flexibility it gave them, he said.

The union claim seeks to impose a minimum four-hour shift for casual and part-time employees, and to force employers to allow casual employees to become permanent after six months.

It would also ban employers from taking on additional part-time or casual staff without first offering the hours to existing employees.

The minimum shift requirement would make it harder for businesses to give after-school jobs to students, Mr Pearson said.

"Unions may wish it were otherwise, but young people are embracing casual work," he said.

About a quarter of the workforce were casuals, with almost 40 per cent of casual employees aged under 25.

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