Labor's plan to tackle labour hire cowboys


Labor's plan to tackle labour hire cowboys

A Shorten Labor government plans to protect the pay and conditions of vulnerable workers through a national licensing regime for the labour hire industry.


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Labor says it would introduce a national licensing regime for the labour hire industry if it is elected in the 2 July federal election.

Leader Bill Shorten says from 1 July 2017 it would be illegal for labour hire companies to operate without a licence and for other firms to knowingly or recklessly use an unlicensed labour
hire company.

Breaches of these licensing laws would carry a penalty of $216,000 for individuals (1200 penalty
units) and $1.1million (6000 penalty units) for a body corporate.

Dodgy business

Recent examples of labour hire industry exploitation include:
  • Baiada, a supplier of chickens to Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut, was found to have used labour hire companies which paid workers well below the minimum wage at as little as $11.50 an hour for shifts of up to 19 hours a day.
  • D’VineRipe Tomato Growers, which supplies to Woolworths, Aldi, IGA and Costco, terminated its contract with CNC Labour Hire after Four Corners revealed workers were being underpaid by up to $5 every hour.
  • Labour hire company Global Express Consultancy supplied workers to three companies across Sydney – Banquet Desserts, Vienna Schubert Estia and South Pack Laboratories –  and workers were underpaid more than $45,000.
To help oversee the new licensing rules, Labor will establish a Labour Hire Licensing and
Compliance Inspectorate within the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman. It will have the power
to monitor compliance with the licensing regime, and will also keep a public register of all licensed labour hire companies.

Licences will only be granted to employers who are judged to be ‘fit and proper’ persons, taking
into account criminal convictions as well as their cooperation with the Fair Work Ombudsman and
the new Labour Hire Licensing and Compliance Inspectorate.

Companies that are based overseas and supply labour to Australian firms, either directly or
through other companies, will also have to be licensed to do business here
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