Queensland unions are ramping up their campaign against what they claim are rogue labour hire companies and they are getting support from government with a parliamentary inquiry into the issue. Unions claim many employees are being shortchanged in wages and conditions.

Benjamin Brew reports.


Unions say thousands of workers are grossly underpaid and routinely abused.

But now, rogue labour hire operators are being challenged with a parliamentary inquiry into underhanded industry practices.

Imogen Beynon, National Union of Workers: “Additional regulation for this unregulated, multi-billion dollar industry is a step in the right direction to ensuring Australian workers have decent jobs and are no longer exploited.”

The inquiry will examine allegations from hospitality, retail, agricultural and mining workers claiming long hours, sexual assault and wage theft.

Imogen Beynon, National Union of Workers: “We have some submissions today where people are earning between five and six dollars an hour for their work.”

Former hospitality worker, Samarah Wilson, lost her job at the Capalaba Sports Club when it brought in a labour hire company known as, Hospitality X.

It wanted to cut penalty rates from workers, something Samarah refused.

Samarah Wilson, Worker: “There are companies out there doing the same thing right now and those workers are feeling vulnerable, exploited and helpless.”

Capalaba Sports Club is no longer run by the rogue operator known as Hospitality X. But nothing’s stopping that group from setting up a new business here in Australia.

Unions are pushing for a licensing scheme to improve transparency and accountability.

This would require labour hire companies to pay an annual licensing fee and prove their legitimacy.

Benjamin Brew, QUT News.