INQUIRY INTO EXPLOITATION OF CLEANERS IN CABOOLTURE TODAY

19 Jul 2018

The Senate inquiry into the exploitation of contract cleaners working for large Australian retail chains will convene in Caboolture today.

INQUIRY INTO EXPLOITATION OF CLEANERS IN CABOOLTURE TODAY

 

The Senate inquiry into the exploitation of contract cleaners working for large Australian retail chains will convene in Caboolture today.

 

The inquiry comes off the back of a Fair Work Ombudsman’s investigation into contract retail cleaners in Tasmania which found:

 

  • widespread and significant underpayment of wages
  • 84 per cent of records either inaccurate or false
  • corporate structures that rely on engaging vulnerable workers
  • inadequate monitoring of cleaning staff
  • employees not being issued pay slips

 

Unions, workplace relations academics and industry representatives will be among those making submissions to the inquiry.

 

Astonishingly, the FWO investigation discovered 90 per cent of Woolworth’s stores in Tasmania were in breach of industrial awards.

 

New South Wales Senator Doug Cameron said contract cleaners were among the most vulnerable and low paid workers in Australia.

 

Senator Cameron said under current laws, large retailers are able to outsource their cleaning needs to unscrupulous contracting companies that are ripping off vulnerable workers.

 

This is often done by contractors setting up multiple sham subcontracting companies which allows them hide their non-compliance through convoluted business structures.

 

“Woolworths recently posted a 38 per cent increase in its half yearly profits to almost $1 billion, yet the people cleaning its stores are among the lowest paid and most exploited workers in Australia,” Senator Cameron said.

 

“I’m astonished that Liberals like Senator Jim Molan would defend Woolworths as he did in Senate Estimates recently.

 

“It goes to show the utter disdain big business and their parliamentary puppets in the Liberal Party have for hard working, low-income Australians.

 

“I can assure big corporations like Woolworths that Australians will not tolerate blatant abuse of low paid workers and this inquiry will get to the bottom of these breaches of the award.”

 

Labor’s candidate for Longman, Susan Lamb, said only Labor will protect the rights of working Australians.

 

“Under the Turnbull Government, we continue to see wages, conditions and workers’ rights eroded,” Ms Lamb said.

 

“Only Labor will stand up for working Australians by ensuring penalty rates are maintained, legislating to stop unfair labour hire practices and by restoring fairness to our workplace laws.”

 

THURSDAY, 19 JULY 2018