In The Daily Fix, Crikey taps into the wisdom of experts and community leaders to find solutions to problems. This week: wage theft.
It’s no coincidence that the emergence of the wage theft crisis has coincided with conservative governments blocking unions from conducting spot checks and inspecting pay records in workplaces, while at the same time attacking the rights of working people to have fast and effective recourse when employers break the law.
In order to address this crisis we need to put in place tougher penalties for employers who steal wages, change the system so that working people can quickly and cheaply claim back any money which has been stolen and are secure to raise concerns about potential wage theft without fearing for their jobs.
We also need to allow unions to conduct spot checks where they can inspect pay records and hold employers directly accountable for paying their staff correctly.
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The discussion paper circulated by the Morrison government does not commit to any of these important reforms.
Sally McManus is the secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.