Greens call for audit, law change to protect labour hire workers

The Green Party has endorsed the call of the FIRST Union for Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse to audit the employment practices of labour hire companies, and says a law change is necessary to ensure labour hire workers are not exploited.

“Labour hire employees are some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable workers,” said the Green Party’s Workplace Relations spokesperson, Denise Roche.

“It is disturbing to hear reports that they are being exploited by employers breaking the law by not paying them sick leave and failing to pay them public holiday rates.

“When they go home in the evening, they have no guarantee that they will have any work the next morning, so they will often be too fearful to complain about exploitation.

“I fully endorse the FIRST Union’s call for an audit of the employment practices of labour hire companies to establish how widespread such unlawful practices are, and to put a stop to them.

“Our employment law need to be changed to better protect labour hire workers. The Greens propose a law change to ensure that labour hire businesses provide wage and conditions at a level no less than the employer contracting the work to them provides to its own employees.

“This would include the coverage of a collective agreement if the contracting employer is a party to one, and the protection of membership of a union that is party to the collective agreement,” said Ms Roche.