Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have today welcomed the announcement of a mandatory licensing scheme for the Queensland labour hire industry to help combat widespread worker exploitation.
Maurice Blackburn Principal Giri Sivaraman said the scheme, announced today by the Queensland Premier, will play a key role in improving the labour hire industry for workers, by better ensuring that only financially stable and safety compliant labour hire exists.
“Today’s announcement in Queensland is a significant step - through a licensing scheme, workers can have confidence that they are finally working within an industry that takes their rights and safety seriously,” Mr Sivaraman said.
“Many labour hire companies do the right thing, but unfortunately exploitation in the industry is still all too common.
“Worker exploitation, including wage theft, has become rampant within many industries across Australia due to poor regulation, particularly in our hospitality, retail, agriculture and construction sectors.
“Labour hire companies regularly target temporary workers because few know their rights, and are scared that if they work outside their hours they could be deported.
“By the time these workers take action for unpaid wages it is often too late and they have had to leave the country, creating a vicious cycle of exploitation,” he said.
Maurice Blackburn recommended the introduction of a licensing scheme as part its submission to State Parliament’s Inquiry into the practices of the Labour Hire Industry in Queensland, back in June 2016, and the firm has also called for the establishment of a national license scheme for the labour hire industry.
“A national scheme has the potential to provide a better standard across the labour hire industry once and for all, and to draw a line in the sand in properly standing up for vulnerable workers,” Mr Sivaraman said.
“Such schemes have been successfully implemented overseas, including in in Canada, Germany and to a limited extent the UK,” he said.
Maurice Blackburn’s submission to the Inquiry into the practices of the Labour Hire Industry in Queensland is available here: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/committees/FAC/2015/I5-LabourHire/submissions/017.pdf