Protection for vulnerable workers critical

The Federal Opposition’s announcement today of measures to help protect vulnerable workers and stop unscrupulous employers will go a long way towards putting an end to the exploitation of workers in Australia.


Labor leader, Bill Shorten, today announced a suite of measures designed to deal with the exploitation of workers. It includes greater protection from sham contracting and tougher penalties for failing to pay workers properly.


The SDA, the union for retail, fast-food and warehouse workers, National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said the measures are necessary to deal with the current situation of rampant worker exploitation in Australia.


“We’ve seen far too many examples of vulnerable workers being exploited and dodgy employers getting away with it under the current system,” Mr Dwyer said.


“The system as it currently stands doesn’t provide the protection that workers need or deserve. It’s high time measures were put in place to deal with the situation.


“The onus needs to be placed on employers to be doing the right thing. Currently, there’s very little stopping unscrupulous employers from doing the wrong thing by their employees.


“Visa workers today are particularly vulnerable and this is not just bad for them but it’s bad for Australian workers. It is in the interest of all Australian workers that wages for visa workers are not allowed to undercut our legal minimum rates of pay. Holes in the current compliance laws weaken the integrity of our whole system of wage laws.


“The measures introduced by Federal Labor today would go a long way towards providing Australia with the fairer workplace system we deserve.


“The recent 7-Eleven case is a classic example of the previously hidden worker exploitation that we unfortunately know now is all too common across the country.


“7-Eleven is just one example. There are examples of unscrupulous employment practices in many other areas and industries, some that we now know about and unfortunately undoubtedly many that still remain hidden


“We can’t sit back and let the exploitation of workers continue. This announcement from the Labor party is an important step towards putting a halt to unfair employment practices in Australia.”

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