A Shorten Labor Government will protect workers and ensure they get a fair deal by tackling unfair labour hire, cracking down on dodgy labour hire companies that rip off and exploit workers.
Labor will legislate to ensure that workers employed through a labour hire company will receive the same pay and conditions as people employed directly.
Our policy is based on a simple principle: if you are doing the same job, you should get the same pay.
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, worse conditions and no job security.
For some workers labour hire and casual work is a pathway into a permanent job, but for too many workers it has become a way of life. For these workers it’s tough to pay the rent and the bills, let alone make longer-term decisions like taking out a car loan or buying their own home.
While there are workers who like the flexibility that labour hire provides, too often it’s used purely as a mechanism to pay workers less, or to deprive them of conditions and security.
That’s why Labor is acting – to build a fair labour hire industry that helps businesses meet their needs, while protecting workers.
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 small businesses using labour hire companies to source workers on a temporary basis or to deliver specialist skills.
Today’s announcement builds on Labor’s strong plans to improve the pay and conditions of working Australians, including examining the definition of “casual” work setting an objective test for deciding when a worker is “casual”.
While the ability to use casual work is an important component of the labour market, it has been increasingly exploited. Workers should not be “casual” just because their employer tells them they are.
Labor will also introduce a national labour hire licensing scheme to protect workers from exploitation, providing an important floor of standards. We will require all labour hire companies to be licensed. 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.
These reforms are about protecting workers and giving them and their families a fair go, making sure that labour hire workers aren’t caught in a cycle of precarious work and unfair conditions which they can’t escape from.
Malcolm Turnbull is so out of touch that he keeps telling us that casualisation isn’t a problem and he has rejected the need for regulation of the labour hire industry, while voting against laws that would help workers recover unpaid wages where a labour hire company does a runner.
A fairer labour hire industry is good for workers and good for business.
Labor will continue to lead on policies for decent jobs and we will continue to fight for Australians to get a fair go.