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Australia – Temporary workers forced to waive permanent employment entitlement

18 February 2014

The National Union of Workers (NUW) in Australia has accused American machinery manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., of putting pressure on its temporary workers to write letters that say they do not want to become permanent employees, reports gantdaily.com.

NUW has filed a complaint against Caterpillar through Australia’s Fair Work Commission (FWC), a national workplace-relations tribunal, over accusations that so-called ‘casuals’ approaching nine months’ employment are instructed by managers to write letters saying they prefer to stay casual.

For years, the construction equipment giant has used temporary workers to ensure that the company remains flexible as demand changes. Last year, temporary workers made up around 11% of the company’s worldwide workforce of almost 133,000.

Caterpillar has a huge parts warehouse in the Melbourne suburb of Tullamarine. The company’s labour agreement states that a casual worker is entitled to become permanent following nine months of employment at the facility, according to NUW branch secretary Tim Kennedy.

Some Caterpillar employees said after they refused to sign the letter they were let go by the company.

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