Greens employment and industrial relations spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today welcomed Labor’s announcement that it would establish a new small claims tribunal to enforce orders for the payment of wages. Mr Bandt noted this announcement follows his own announcement that the Greens will establish and resource a $20 million dedicated Wage Theft Unit within the Fair Work Ombudsman tasked with identifying, investigating and prosecuting cases of underpayment and wage theft. Mr Bandt also called on Labor to go further in lifting the minimum wage.
“The systematic underpayment of hundreds of thousands of low paid workers has to stop,” said Mr Bandt.
“In the fast food sector alone, some estimates have placed yearly losses at more than $300 million.
“Labor’s announcement of a new body to tackle wage theft is an important step in the right direction, but we need to work out how the situation got so dire in the first place.
“We’re glad Labor accepts the minimum wage is too low, but the next government must back the Greens’ push to lift the minimum wage to at least 60% of the median wage.
“The Greens will move in the Senate to amend Labor’s IR laws to lift the minimum wage to 60% of the median wage.
“The Greens will ensure that when the next government’s industrial relations reforms reach the parliament, they tackle the critical issues, like wage theft and low pay, at the heart of our industrial relations laws.”