CELRL Seminar: Tackling Australia's "Gangmasters": The Case for Labour Hire Licensing
Labour hire providers who engage in exploitation of vulnerable workers are Australia's modern-day equivalent of the industrial-era "gangmasters" in Britain. Over the last two years, the practices of these "rogue" labour contractors have finally come to light. They have received scrutiny by the media, three State government inquiries, two federal parliamentary committees, and investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman. The consistent picture that emerges is one of underpayments, non-compliance with awards, and failure to observe health and safety, tax and superannuation obligations. Several of the inquiries have recommended the introduction of national or (failing that) state-based licensing schemes for the labour hire sector, modelled on the UK's Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority. Professor Forsyth will discuss these issues in this seminar, and examine the effectiveness of labour hire licensing and registration schemes internationally as a tool to combat the worst forms of labour market exploitation.
Anthony Forsyth, RMIT University
Anthony Forsyth is Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Melbourne Australia; and Consultant with the national legal firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Employment, Workplace Relations & Safety Team). He is the coauthor of the 6th edition of Creighton & Stewart's Labour Law (Federation Press, Sydney, 2016). In October 2015, Professor Forsyth was appointed by the Victorian State Government as Chair of the Independent Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work; and presented his Final Report to the Premier and Minister for Industrial Relations on 31 August 2016. His research interests cover collective bargaining; workplace dispute resolution; the regulation of trade unions; and labour hire/agency work.