The leader of the global trade union movement, Sharan Burrow, has stated that the scale and severity of Australia’s wage-theft crisis is “among the worst in the world”
Geneva-based Ms Burrow, who travelled to Canberra on Thursday to receive her Companion of the Order of Australia and lobby the Senate crossbench to vote against the government’s union-busting bill, said the level of wage theft in her home country was “unbelievable”.
“Frankly, until you see some serious sanctions on people who engage in taking money from workers, then it is in fact a form of wage slavery and again it’s unbelievable that it happens right here in Australia where you have a robust rule of law,” the International Trade Union Confederation’s general secretary said.
“The theft of wages in this country is akin to the kind of conditions we see in countries like the Gulf states where the kafala system [of migrant workers] exists.”
In the ACT, the extent of wage-theft for young workers is now a crisis, with over half of all young workers aged under 25 experiencing wage-theft each year. (Read more.)
Young workers are twice as likely to experience severe exploitation, stolen wages and be injured at work, compared to older workers.