The Victorian Labor government will introduce a licensing scheme for labour hire companies in an attempt to address the growing number of cases of gross exploitation of workers by labour suppliers.
The move comes in response to the release of the report of the Victorian inquiry into Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work chaired by RMIT Professor Anthony Forsyth. The inquiry has made 35 recommendations for cleaning up this section of the labour market.
In his report, Forsyth says that the activities of rogue operators have led “to exploitation of vulnerable workers including underpayment of award wages, non-payment of superannuation, provision of sub-standard accommodation and non-observance of statutory health and safety requirements.”
"This problem stems in large part from the ease of access, or absence of barriers to entry, for persons/organisations wishing to provide labour hire services in this state.”
Forsyth has singled out the horticulture, meat and cleaning industries for immediate action in Victoria. Ultimately though, he says, what is needed is a national scheme.
Unions have welcomed the report, while pointing out that exploitation of workers through crooked labour hire arrangements is not confined to the three industries where licensing is proposed.
National Union of Workers (NUW) secretary Gary Maas says his union would have been happier to see the proposed licensing regulation covering all industries.
"Yes those industries are exploited, but other industries are exploited by the same sorts of labour hire companies," Maas said. He named charity fund raising, the dairy industry, and warehousing and logistics in particular.
Mass said 40% of people are affected by insecure work in Victoria and it "needs to change".
Source: Workplace Express; Workforce Daily.