Putting an end to labour hire exploitation in the mining sector

Published: 21/11/2023
Category: Industrial Relations
Published: 21/11/2023
Category: Industrial Relations

The mining industry is Australia’s most profitable sector, worth over half a trillion dollars annually.

It’s also an industry that employs over 6,000 workers on labour hire contracts that pay less for the same job, and are far more insecure – hurting Australian workers and their families during a cost-of-living crisis.

It’s no secret that these profit-hungry companies deliberately undercut the wages and conditions of their workers, all for the sake of record profits.

It’s the mining companies who pioneered the labour hire model – and have since inspired unscrupulous big business employers in other industries.

The Albanese government’s Closing Loopholes Bill would close these loopholes so that whether you’re a labour hire worker or not, you’ll be paid the same wage for the same work, as you should be.

Profiting off worker exploitation no longer acceptable

Mining industry profits are so huge that these companies could easily afford to give every worker in Australia a cost-of-living pay rise of 6%, and still hold onto their crown as Australia’s most profitable industry.

It’s hard to believe, but these are the same companies crying foul in response to simple and commonsense changes to labour hire laws in the Closing Loopholes Bill.

These changes would prevent companies – in the mining sector and beyond – from exploiting labour hire loopholes to replace permanent jobs with labour hire to drive down wages and make work more insecure.

New research from the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) reveals that implementing these changes would only cost these mining companies a mere 0.016% of their annual profits.

Denying workers fundamental rights in a cost-of-living crisis

Big mining company BHP is leading the charge, presenting a laughable claim that it stands to lose $1.3 billion if the Bill passes – an outrageous figure that is 26 times higher than the estimated total cost facing the entire mining industry, according to government estimates.

The mining industry is so profitable it could give every single Australian worker a 6% pay increase and still be the most profitable industry in Australia. It is disgraceful they want to instead hold back all Australian workers from getting better workplace rights.

Sally McManus
ACTU Secretary

Sally McManus  -  ACTU Secretary

The hysterical response from the mining industry – suggesting that the Bill will kill jobs, productivity, investment and even labour hire itself – shows that these reforms will actually work.

The reforms are essential so that labour hire workers – who currently earn on average $4,700 less per year than other workers for doing the exact same job – will have access to fair pay and conditions.

It’s time for politicians to side with workers

Mining profits have risen by a staggering 194% over the last decade while wages have fallen by 6%, due to the planned strategy of labour hire exploitation. It’s time for that to change.

Politicians like Peter Dutton and the Liberal Party, as well as crossbenchers in the senate, have a simple choice to make.

Pass the Bill to support the workers who generate these profits – or continue to allow big business to exploit loopholes to deny workers’ basic working rights and fair pay during a cost-of-living crisis.

Sign the petition to Close the Loopholes, so politicians know what’s at stake and why it’s so essential to the pass the Bill. Because Australian workers can’t wait any longer.

Close the Loopholes

Putting an end to labour hire exploitation in the mining sector

Putting an end to labour hire exploitation in the mining sector