Rogue Operators Can’t Stand the Heat

An industry leader known for dealing with fiery produce has praised a new platform for delivering that extra spice dodgy operators find too hot to handle.

One of Australia’s largest chilli producers says it is sick and tired of rogue operators giving the agricultural and the labour hire industry a bad name, and it has decided enough is enough.

Austchilli says the only way it can make a change is to encourage the use of a national directory list of who to work with and, perhaps more significantly, who to avoid.

Austchilli Bundaberg Group Operations Manager Terry Lutteral applauded RCSA for developing StaffSure, a certification program developed with industries that use employment providers, governments that regulate them, unions that employ workers within them and certification experts.

Through independent auditing, StaffSure looks at six business integrity elements such as Fit and Proper Persons, Work Status and Remuneration, Financial Assurance, Safe Work, Immigration and Accommodation. When a provider passes the audit it is listed on the StaffSure website as a certified provider that is committed to the protection of workers.

“As an employer, StaffSure gives us confidence that the correct measures are put in place and that it’s not just a program that has alternative motives or may, after years, not be a priority,” Lutteral said. “The thoroughness of StaffSure and the fact that it is driven by the recruitment industry and not just state-based government bodies gives a lot more confidence to our business.

“While we partner with long-term suppliers that have a great reputation and do the right thing, having this directory and program will help competitors be able to better focus on looking after workers to strengthen our industry’s reputation and work towards a sustainable future.

“Furthermore, it means that everyone is playing on the same level and lifting the standard across the board.”

Fifteen per cent of Lutteral’s workforce is made up of on-site workers and with StaffSure he believes accountability will be encouraged on all sides of the supply chain.

“We definitely won’t be working with an operator who is uncertified and unlicensed,” he said. “Programs like this ensure that simple practices such as accommodation, super payments and correct pay rates, which are a key area of concern in our sector, are audited and accountability is taken for.”

Edward Milne, Manager of Workforce Solutions and Training Pathways at Bayside Group, agrees and said an industry-led program will make more of a difference and helps reputable providers stand out.

“The industry understands itself better than legislators ever can,” Milne said. “Simply looking at how hard legislators have found it to define ‘labour suppliers’ is an excellent example of how a great idea can miss the mark.

“A unified industry demonstrates to our employees, clients and law makers that we are willing to do the right thing. A small minority doing the wrong thing should not taint all providers.

“Industry-led regulation leads to the best outcomes. Our business is about ensuring we have the right people in the right place at the right time for our clients. In labour hire, where our service is our people, we must ensure we are meeting the requirements of our workforce and our clients.”

StaffSure covers on-hire firms, staffing firms, contracting firms, employment agencies, temp agencies, payroll agencies and recruitment firms, regardless of occupation or industry specialisation.

Manpower’s Regional Manager Russell Fairbanks said he and his team put their hand up to be certified because they recognised the importance of providing extra assurance to their customers that they were compliant.

“We are already seeing customers approach us with questions about our readiness and compliance for the Queensland and South Australian labour hire licensing schemes,” Fairbanks said.

“Collectively, we need to call out unethical behaviour and poor business practices in suppliers so that these risks are removed from the market. Customers need to be educated on what we do for the ‘margin’ we charge and that sometimes ‘cheapest’ means things that should be done are not done.

“We want our customers to have the confidence that we meet the highest standards as befitting the professional services industry and StaffSure provides this platform.”

For more information visit www.staffsure.org or call 1300 727 504.

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