It takes a village: Civil Society regulation of employment standards for temporary migrant workers in Australian horticulture

Seminar/Forum

It takes a village: Civil Society regulation of employment standards for temporary migrant workers in Australian horticulture

The challenge of regulating employment standards in non-unionised industries is shared by many developed countries. In industries like horticulture, violation of minimum employment standards is widespread and state employment regulators struggle to enforce laws. This presentation examines the challenge at a system level incorporating a range of civil society stakeholders. It conceptualises a regional town and its surrounding horticulture-dependent economy and society as a complex system in which stakeholders face the challenge of reputational damage among temporary migrant farm workers, threatening future labour supply. This ‘tragedy of the commons’ was created by those stakeholders acting solely in their individual interests by underpaying and otherwise mistreating the workers. Using a qualitative approach including 30 interviews, focusing on a single farming region in Queensland, Australia, this presentation identifies the conditions by which civil society stakeholders in the horticulture system regulate employment standards through orienting and connecting with one another to advance both individual and shared interests.

Presenter

  • Dr Stephen Clibborn
    Dr Stephen Clibborn, University of Sydney