Plan to halt worker exploitation welcomed

The Shorten Labor Party’s commitment today to cracking down on rogue franchisees and franchisors will help put an end to the horrific exploitation of workers at stores like 7-Eleven.

SDA, the union for retail, fast-food and warehouse workers, said that while a wide range of measures need to be introduced in order to stop the exploitation of workers, today’s announcement that workers will be able to pursue franchisors for wage underpayments; that penalties for ripping off employees will be increased and that the Fair Work Ombudsman will be given a significant resourcing boost, are much welcomed initiatives.

SDA National Secretary, Gerard Dwyer, said it is critical governments of all persuasions take serious action to address workers exploitation, particularly that of overseas students.

“We know that exploitation is still continuing at 7-Eleven stores despite all the attention the issue has had of late, and you can bet your bottom dollar it’s also happening in other companies across the country,” Mr Dwyer said.

“The fact is that our Federal Government has done little to actually address the problem of exploitation in places like 7-Eleven. We need a suite of measures introduced in order to put a halt to the problem.

“It’s simply not good enough to try and sweep this issue under the rug and pretend it never happened. There are potentially thousands of people out there being exploited every day.

“Today’s announcement from the ALP is very welcomed. These new measures would go a long way to stopping the exploitation of vulnerable workers.

“Providing workers with the ability to pursue franchisors for wage underpayments is critical. Forcing workers to somehow do the detective work to prove that their employer is aware they’re breaching the law, like the Liberal Party has suggested, is simply not a reasonable burden to place on workers.

“The onus needs to be placed on the people in the positions of power – the employers – to do the right thing.” 

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