The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) believes a national licensing regime for labour hire companies will help protect casual workers from the exploitation rampant in insecure work.

The ALP’s announcement today that it will establish a national licensing regime for labour hire companies if it wins the 2 July election comes just a few days after it pledged to also examine the definition of casual work.

With up to 40% of the Australian workers now in casual forms of employment, the right to basic entitlements, such as sick leave and annual leave, has never been more at risk.

The National Unions of Workers (NUW), one of the many Australian Unions consistently dealing with dodgy operators, says workers are being exploited by being paid well below the minimum wage, threatened with their jobs if they speak up or join a union, sexually assaulted or forced to live in overcrowded and overpriced accommodation.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver

“The way many casual employees are treated in Australia is a scourge on the workforce. The ACTU will work with a future ALP Government to implement these reforms and engage with the wider review of casualisation.

 “There are thousands of Australian workers in our community that live with the constant threat of being sacked with no notice.  All people deserve good, steady jobs that provide them and their family with the financial security needed to plan for the future.

“Companies that aren’t prepared to play by the rules shouldn’t be able to play at all.”

Quotes attributable to NUW National Secretary Tim Kennedy:

“The National Union of Workers welcomes Labor’s announcement today to regulate Australia’s massive labour hire industry.

“Far too often members of our union are exploited when small-time labour hire contractors pay well below the minimum wage and then disappear when the union demands minimum wages and backpay. There is then very little recourse when they choose to disappear.

“It will be a very important step forward to eliminate these agencies from the job market and implement enforceable standards to protect workers’ rights in the industry.”

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617