ALP's new labour hire policy aspires to level playing field
'CHANGE the rules' is a rally cry for the union movement wanting greater fairness for workers and now the Labor Party has revealed their plans to do just that.
Unfair labour hire practices have remained a hot button topic in CQ but an embargoed new policy being rolled out today by Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Brendan O'Connor promises to tackle the issue head on.
He said at the moment, there are too many workers in Australia subject to unfair labour hire practices, often treated like second class citizens with lower wages, and no job security.
If a Shorten Labor Government was elected, Mr O'Connor said they planned to introduce legislation to protect workers and ensure they got a fair deal by ensuring that those employed through a labour hire company would receive the same pay and conditions as those employed directly.
"Quite simply, if you are doing the same job, you should get the same pay.
"For some workers labour hire and casual work is a pathway into a permanent job, but for too many workers, it is now a way of life.”
While there are those workers who like the flexibility that labour hire provides, he said that it can also be used to pay workers less than a directly employed worker and to avoid conditions that a worker would otherwise be entitled to.
"That's why Labor is acting - to build a fair labour hire industry that helps businesses meet their needs, while protecting workers,” he said.
"We will consult with labour hire companies, host employers, unions and other stakeholders on the legislative scheme and transitional arrangements.
"This policy will not affect businesses using labour hire companies to source workers on a temporary basis or to deliver specialist skills.”
This announcement comes in addition to Labor's existing plans to improve working conditions and pay, introduce a national labour hire licensing scheme, examine the definition of casual and set an objective test for it.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said it was well known that Central Queensland is ground zero for unfair labour hire practices, with the big multinationals some of the worst offenders.
"The scourge of unfair labour hire is unacceptable and cannot go on. Malcolm Turnbull and Michelle Landry have done nothing to address the issue. It's yet another example of how they only cares about the top end of town,” Mr Shorten said.
"I've spent my whole adult life fighting for secure jobs and fair wages for working Australians. It's always been my passion, and it will be my priority as prime minister.
"I believe in a fair go for all Australians - that means the same pay for the same job.”