The announcement that Swan Services, a major cleaning contractor has gone into administration and hundreds of cleaners will lose their jobs is devastating to everyone affected.
Swan was one of the better employers in what is an industry of fly-by-nighters.
What is more devastating is that only some of staff will have their entitlements guaranteed.
Tony Abbott set up the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS), following the insolvency of National Textiles, owned by then Prime Minister John Howard's brother.
In 2012, Labor renamed this scheme the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme. But there is nothing fair about it. In fact it is nothing short of racist.
The scheme excludes anyone on a temporary visa - that means that most International students and people holding 457 or other non-permanent visas are not eligible for payment.
We might not be surprised that Tony Abbott and John Howard excluded temporary residents from the scheme. But the fact Labor has kept this racist scheme in place is just outrageous.
These people are here working legally and paying taxes, in this case they’re cleaning our office buildings. There is no legitimate reason why they shouldn’t have their entitlements protected.
Many of them have been saving up their holiday leave, so they can go home to visit their families, and now it’s all gone.
Labor has to act – they have to change the scheme to include all workers and ensure these workers get the entitlements they have earned.
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