Exploitation of general and specialist cleaners
The submission to the Senate Education and Employment References Committee in relation to its inquiry into the exploitation of general and specialist cleaners working in retail chains for contracting or subcontracting cleaning companies was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
The submission is primarily informed from input received by the Law Institute of Victoria’s Workplace Relations Section.
The Committee has been tasked with examining the exploitation of general and specialist cleaners working in retail chains for contracting or subcontracting cleaning companies, with particular reference to:
(a) frameworks at both Commonwealth and industry level to protect workers from harm, including exploitation, wage theft, underpayment, wage stagnation and workplace injury;
(b) measures designed to ensure workers have adequate representation and knowledge of their rights;
(c) compliance with relevant workplace and taxation laws, including the effectiveness and adequacy of agencies such as the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Australian Taxation Office;
(d) practices including ‘phoenixing’ and pyramid subcontracting; and
(e) any related matters.
The timing of the Inquiry is significant. Over the past five years, the treatment of migrant workers in Australia has become a notable human rights issue. The exploitation of international students and backpackers, in particular, has been the focus of attention, due to a number of court cases, investigations, and media reports.
You can read the full submission below.