Employers should be forced to provide temporary workers with information about their rights at work and a fast-tracked complaints process introduced to deal with the growing exploitation of migrant workers. 

A Unions NSW submission to the Senate Inquiry into Temporary Work Visas also calls for the removal of employers from the approved employers list for repeat safety breaches.

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said temporary work visas should be built around a framework to ensure workers are not used to undermine Australian wages and conditions and workers are not exposed to exploitation and dangerous working conditions. 

“Revelations on last night’s ABC Four Corners investigation about the fundamental exploitation of temporary workers just reinforces the need for appropriate regulation and an urgent need to fix this broken system.

“These workers are being subjected to long illegal working hours, inhumane living conditions and massive underpayment of wages while the Abbott government looks on. These shocking reports of bullying, intimidation and harassment must be investigated immediately.

“The Federal Government must protect these highly vulnerable workers and inform them of their rights by providing mandatory information to temporary workers during the visa process. This should include details about the minimum wage, National Employment Standards and where to seek further assistance on workplace rights through relevant Australian unions.

Unions are also calling for temporary workers to be granted access to a fast-tracked complaints process for underpayment of wages or mistreatment at work.

“Supply chain responsibility should be from the top to the bottom to avoid the companies that profit from this exploitation from turning a blind eye.

“We need a specific jurisdiction committed to pursuing those who are responsible in order to stop this third world slave labour happening on our shores.”

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