Open letter: We need action on exploitation at the Jobs and Skills Summit

A coalition of concerned community legal centres have written an urgent open letter calling on the government to consider supporting key legal reforms to reduce the exploitation of vulnerable workers.    

It is the hope of many that the Jobs and Skills Summit (“the Summit") will lead to full and secure employment for many Australians. To do this, attendees of the Summit will need to consider what is stopping full employment and examine the existing laws and systems that lead to insecure work and the exploitation of workers. 

Signatories to the open letter are employment law specialists, who see first-hand the systemic barriers that enable the exploitation of vulnerable and migrant workers.

These organisations urged government and attendees of the Summit, to consider supporting five key reforms to reduce the exploitation of vulnerable workers.  

1. Criminalise wage theft and ensure that the legal dispute resolution mechanism for workers to recover all unpaid entitlements and superannuation is efficient, accessible, and inexpensive.
2. Eliminate sham contracting arrangements
3. Decrease over-casualisation
4. Allow migrant workers to act against exploitative employers
5. Extend the Fair Entitlements Guarantee to all employees, including those on temporary visas.

List of signatories:

  1. Caxton Legal Centre Inc.
  2. Community Legal Centres Australia
  3. Darwin Community Legal Service
  4. Eastern Community Legal Centre
  5. Employment Rights Legal Service
  6. Fitzroy Legal Service
  7. JobWatch Inc
  8. Justice Connect
  9. Kingsford Legal Centre
  10. Redfern Legal Centre
  11. South West Sydney Legal Centre
  12. South-East Monash Legal Service Inc.
  13. The Working Women’s Centre SA Inc.
  14. Western NSW Community Legal Centre
  15. WEstjustice
  16. Women’s Legal Centre ACT
  17. Women’s Legal Service NSW
  18. Youth Law Australia