New labour hire laws take effect in Queensland
Vulnerable workers now have access to greater workplace protections with new labour hire laws taking full effect in Queensland.
The laws, which came into effect on 16 April 2018, regulate the labour hire industry through mandatory licencing, regular reporting and holding employers accountable for transgressions.
Businesses that provide labour hire services without an appropriate licence or fail to meet regulations now face severe penalties.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Paul Giles said the new laws were long overdue recognition of how easily labour hire companies had been able to exploit workers.
“Among some of the abhorrent behaviour of these labour hire organisations was systemic underpayment of wages, wrongful dismissal and gross denial of employees’ basic working conditions,” Mr Giles said.
“The current state government is to be commended for legislating significant protections for these vulnerable workers.”
The new laws provide vital protections for workers like Sergio Duran who worked for a number of cleaning labour hire companies after moving to Australia for study in 2014.
Mr Duran’s first employer forced him to attend two weeks of unpaid training before offering him just two hours of work per day and later sacking him with just two days’ notice.
At the time, Mr Duran was forced to rely on food donations from his local Catholic Church community.
Mr Duran celebrated the new labour hire laws at a Queensland Community Alliance event in April.
“You may think this situation only happens once (but), for me and for my community, this is happening every day. This is our human dignity,” he said.
When the Labour Hire Licencing Bill 2017 successfully passed through parliament Queensland became the first state to introduce mandatory licencing for labour hire companies.
Unions had campaigned strongly for regulation of the industry and were instrumental in bringing about the new laws.
Mr Giles said the outcome made it clear that broken rules could be changed.
“Where industrial laws are out of step with community expectations, we can and must change them.
“All workers are entitled to secure jobs with fair pay and entitlements.
“This is the key principle of our Change The Rules campaign to fix Australia’s broken industrial laws.
“There is still work to be done – the collective bargaining system is in desperate need of repair and insecure work continues to impact thousands of workers – but what is clear is that when workers join together in their unions, they can change our industrial landscape for the better.”
Read more about the Change The Rules campaign here.
Find out more about the Queensland Community Alliance, of which our union is a member here.