Pro­gram to help, for sure

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Weather | In­side - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

IN­DUS­TRY bod­ies have hit back at il­le­gal labour-hire con­trac­tors, launch­ing a na­tion­wide cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem.

Re­cruit­ment and em­ploy­ment in­dus­try group Re­cruit­ment and Con­sult­ing Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion has joined forces with global cer­ti­fi­ca­tion com­pany SGS to launch StaffSure – a pro­gram they be­lieve will stamp out un­eth­i­cal labour-hire prac­tices through­out Aus­tralia.

Ear­lier this month the Queens­land Govern­ment passed the labour-hire li­cens­ing law.

The law re­quires all labour-hire com­pa­nies to be li­censed, and came off the back of high-pro­file cases of for­eign worker ex­ploita­tion within the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try.

RCSA chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Charles Cameron was out­spo­ken on the is­sue at the time, stat­ing the law had loop­holes that would be ex­ploited.

Mr Cameron said StaffSure was a sim­ple, prag­matic so­lu­tion that was de­vel­oped by “lis­ten­ing” to farm­ers.

“What we heard from them was that many of the growers don’t have the re­sources or the ca­pac­ity to go and do an au­dit of labour hire firms that sup­ply them with work­ers,” he said.

“They have sim­ply re­lied, tra­di­tion­ally, upon the rep­re­sen­ta­tions made by the labour hire providers. And, un­for­tu­nately, not all labour hire firms op­er­ate with in­tegrity and full com­pli­ance.”

StaffSure will thor­oughly au­dit all labour-hire or­gan­i­sa­tions, be­fore giv­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“Es­sen­tially, we are work­ing the sup­ply chain to put com­mer­cial pres­sure on labour-hire firms to be­come cer­ti­fied,” he said.

Mr Cameron brushed off con­cerns that un­eth­i­cal labour-hire com­pa­nies would be able to find loop­holes within StaffSure.

“Es­sen­tially... I think it would be quite dif­fi­cult for an or­gan­i­sa­tion to ramp up their sys­tems to meet the au­dit re­quire­ment and then scale it back down again,” he said.

“We have also im­ple­mented a sys­tem where there will be ran­dom au­dits... just to make sure no one is gam­ing the sys­tem.”

A na­tional data­base of cer­ti­fied providers will be cre­ated, pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees with the op­por­tu­nity to check com­pany credentials prior to en­gage­ment, en­sur­ing they are choos­ing a le­git­i­mate provider.

Mr Cameron said the StaffSure cer­ti­fi­ca­tion would al­low buy­ers of staffing ser­vices to make an in­formed choice about the qual­ity and le­git­i­macy of labour hire firms and work­force con­trac­tors: pro­tect­ing work­ers and busi­ness and us­ing mar­ket power to change be­hav­iour in a rapidly chang­ing em­ploy­ment en­vi­ron­ment.

“StaffSure, backed by buy­ers of labour hire in high-risk in­dus­tries, will hit un­scrupu­lous and il­le­gal PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED labour hire op­er­a­tors where it most im­pacts – their back pock­ets,” Mr Cameron said.

“Sim­ply put, the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of em­ploy­ment ser­vice providers will re­sult in a mar­ket where buy­ers only buy from clean sellers and dirty sellers cease to ex­ist be­cause no­body is pre­pared to fund them.

“The good guys will be re­warded with con­tracts and the bad guys will be passed over.”

MAK­ING A STAND: RCSA CEO Charles Cameron, Jef­frey McDon­ald from SGS, Bris­bane labour hire worker John Bolton, Clay­ton War­ren from SGS and AWX’s re­gional man­ager Cameron Abra­hams in Bris­bane.

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