It Takes a Village: Community Regulation of Employment Standards For Temporary Migrant Workers in Australian Horticulture (September 2017)

Dr Stephen Clibborn, University of Sydney

CELRL Labour Law Seminar

Company Law’s Role in Labour Law’s Problems

Seminar presented by Dr. Stephen Clibborn

Tuesday 29 September 2017: 1–2pm at Melbourne Law School

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About the event

The challenge of regulating employment standards in non-unionised industries is shared by many developed countries. It is heightened in the context of declining unions and bargaining coverage across the OECD, prevalence of fragmented work structures and growing international migration of labour. In industries like horticulture, violation of minimum employment standards is widespread and state employment regulators struggle to enforce laws. This paper examines the challenge at a system level incorporating a range of community 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. The paper uses a qualitative approach, focusing on a single farming region in Queensland.

About the speaker

Dr Stephen Clibborn is a Lecturer in the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies in the University of Sydney Business School. He is also an Associate Editor of the Journal of Industrial Relations and an experienced employment lawyer. After completing his PhD entitled, 'Managing from Afar: International Transfer of Employment Relations Policies and Practices in US Multinational Corporations', Stephen's research program has focused on the workplace rights and experiences of low-waged migrant workers, both with and without work authorisation.  He also continues his research on international management in multinational corporations, with a particular focus on the influence of politics and power on the international transfer of practices between different institutional and market settings.