The TWU has welcomed the findings of an inquiry into Victoria’s unregulated labour hire market, particularly as they relate to workers in the transport industry.
TWU (Vic/Tas Branch) Secretary John Berger said a number of the Union’s submissions and evidence to the Victorian Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work formed the basis of some recommendations contained in its final report to the State Government.
“The Union is pleased that the Inquiry has recommended the development of a comprehensive industry based rates and costs schedule and/or code under the Owner Drives and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (Vic) which would apply to the tip-truck industry,” he said.
“Further, the Inquiry has recommended that the Victorian Government review the threshold requirements upon hirers to provide an applicable rate and costs schedule to owner drivers so as to ensure that the requirement is triggered based on the usual hiring practices in the tip-truck industry.
“The TWU will now press the Victorian Government to adopt those Recommendations and get on with the job of improving owner driver/tipper rates and conditions”.
The report, which included numerous examples of worker exploitation such as unpaid wages, significant underpayments and workplace health and safety breaches, contained 35 recommendations including the establishment of a labour hire licensing scheme.
TWU tippers delegate Rob Norris said the Inquiry discovered what those in the industry have long-known.
“The cut throat competition in the excavation industry puts drivers and the public at risk,” he said. “Let’s hope that the Andrews Labor Government – that had the courage to commission this Inquiry in the first place – now has the courage to implement its findings.”
The report, by Professor Anthony Forsyth, also called for the removal of the current disparity between labour hire workers and the host company’s direct employees and making it illegal for companies to misrepresent an employment relationship.
He said Victorians in the labour hire industry were treated as “second class workers.”
“While the labour hire model of engagement plays a very important role in meeting the business needs of employers, it is generally preferable that we do not allow workers to be treated adversely,” he said.