We know that insecure work can have several poor economic outcomes for workers. However, what is rarely talked about is the how safety issues, like sexual harassment, are often compounded by these exploitative business models.
A new survey commissioned by the ACTU found that 26% of retail workers and 22% of health workers reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace in the last 12 months.
Both industries host predominantly female workforces that are frequently employed on a casual, insecure basis.
This is yet another example of how insecure work disproportionately entrenches workplace health and safety issues of women, leaving them at greater risk of harm in the workplace.
The survey also found that women were less likely to take action than men after experiencing crude or offensive behaviour and unwanted sexual attention. This does not happen by accident. After years of the federal Government eroding the rights of workers and ignoring systemic sexism in Australia, we are left with workplaces that rely on insecure labour that are not safe for women.
“The issue of women’s safety at work can’t be addressed in isolation, it is worsened by insecure jobs. Women in insecure work feel disempowered because they fear reprisals from their employers, such as losing their job.”Michele O’Neil, ACTU President
Despite all this, there is a way forward.
We’re calling upon the Morrison government to take action to make workplaces safer by implementing all of the recommendations from the Respect@Work report and to support legislation that provides more secure jobs for workers.
The Respect@Work report outlines key recommendations that will actively empower women who have been impacted by harassment and discrimination in workplaces to stand up for their rights through formalised processes.
Tell the Government to take action on Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace.
You can support our call for the Government to take action on the Respect@Work report here.
Support Secure Jobs in Australia
You can support our campaign to support the growth of secure jobs in Australia here.