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Parliamentary inquiry needed to protect workers

  • All workers deserve fair conditions and protection from exploitation
  • Labor calls for a Parliamentary inquiry

Allegations of worker exploitation in seasonal fruit picking operations in Tasmania must be investigated.

Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations Michelle O’Byrne said anyone who works in Tasmania deserves fair conditions and protection from exploitation.

“Most people would be horrified to hear of the living and working conditions for these people.

“For this to be occurring under a government scheme is even more concerning.

“No employer can excuse themselves from ensuring appropriate working conditions. Employers have not only a legal but a moral obligation to their employees.

“What we’ve seen in other jurisdictions is that reputable employers want to have proper scrutiny to ensure the industry operates appropriately.”

Ms O’Byrne said a Parliamentary inquiry into worker conditions is needed.

“Among the allegations we’re hearing this week is that money is being held from workers’ wages to pay for debt the company says is owed. This is wage theft.

“Labor will seek to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry in 2020 into wage theft and insecure work. 

“There is a need for new wage theft laws to combat systematic, widespread or blatant under and non-payment of wages and other employment benefits.

“Such an inquiry must not be limited in a way that would prevent investigation of labour hire practices.”

Michelle O’Byrne
Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations