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PIAA slams Fair Work franchising bill

Wednesday, 17 May 2017
By Print21

(l-r) The PIAA's Mary Jo Fisher with Liberal Senator Jonathon Duniam in Canberra

Printing Industries says a federal Fair Work Amendment Bill goes too far and would penalise the majority of franchise owners in order ‘to police a few.’

“In trying to stop a few unscrupulous businesses from deliberately exploiting vulnerable workers, such as in the well-publicised 7-Eleven events, the bill over-reaches and hampers law-abiding franchises,” says PIAA director of government relations, Mary Jo Fisher.

“The Bill does not justify why it needs to police the majority of trustworthy businesses and offers no evidence that it will do more than the existing laws to stop the handful of unscrupulous businesses.”

Printing Industries has been working with the Franchising Council of Australia, both on the issues around the bill and in lobbying.

Fisher says the proposed Fair Work (Vulnerable Workers) Amendment Bill is heavily flawed.

“The bottom line is that both franchisors and franchisees will face increased red tape; paperwork trails; auditing and internal costs, in order to try to reduce risks.  And it’s mostly for nonsense.

“Under the Bill, a breach of the Fair Work laws exposes both franchisor and franchisee to increases in current monetary penalties of between 2-fold and 10-fold – again, without evidence that increased penalties will either change the conduct of the bad or not penalise the good.”

“Without adequate justification, the Bill gives the Fair Work Ombudsman powers equivalent to ASIC and the ACCC to require information; compel the production of documents; and interrogate those involved, including employees and contractors.

“These consequences are not unreasonable for the few rare, distressing and well-publicised franchise examples in other industries, such as 7-Eleven, Baiada Poultry and Yogurberry.  And these examples show that our existing laws do work.  But for the law-abiding majority, the bill goes too far.”

Printing Industries met with members of Parliament in Canberra last week to convince them that Senate debate of the bill should be delayed until June because it needs significant changes.

Leading printing shop franchise companies Kwik Kopy and Snap have yet to comment.


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