'Second class citizens': Labour hire targeted in ALP policy
THE Australian Labor Party has vowed to crack down on "unfair labour hire" practices, with a focus on people doing the same job receiving the same pay.
The policy, announced yesterday, aims to bring into line practices Labor says is depriving workers of conditions and security.
Labor candidate for Flynn Zac Beers said workers were being sacked and offered their job back at reduced pay and young people were being locked out of the housing market because of the "unfair" labour hire industry.
"Too many labour hire workers are being treated like second-class citizens, with lower wages, worse conditions and no job security," he said.
"Labor's new policy is based on a simple principle: if you are doing the same job, you should get the same pay."
Mr Beers, an Australian Workers Union organiser, said while there were workers who liked the flexibility of what labour hire provided, sometimes it was used as a mechanism to pay workers less.
The policy includes a licensing scheme that would provide new standards.
Industrial Relations Minister Craig Laundy said the issue of improper labour hire practices was being investigated by the Migrant Workers Taskforce, with an interim report due soon.
The investigation was one way the Coalition had already taken "strong action" against employers ripping off vulnerable workers, Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said.
He said the ALP's policy would give workers no ability to negotiate conditions or pay.
"Their pay will change to what applies wherever they are sent next - and they'll have no say," Mr O'Dowd said.
"Labour hire has been part of the Australian workforce since the 1950s and it's a legitimate form of employment that many workers prefer."
In Queensland, all labour hire companies had until June 15 to pass licensing tests to operate, after sweeping new reforms came into effect in April.
The ALP said the policy would not affect small businesses using labour hire companies to source workers on a temporary basis.