Tag Archives: Martijn Boersma

Interview on 2SER The Daily: The Rise of Wage Theft Scandals, Will They Ever End?

Last week has seen the list of wage theft offenders get longer. Overall, the total wage theft revealed last week summed up to 94.2 million dollars. According to PwC, Australian workers are underpaid 1.35 billion dollars each year – that means that 1 out of 7 workers aren’t getting their wages, as well as superannuation, overtime, and entitlements like properly paid sick leave. Despite the statistics and companies being called out for wage theft, we’ve seen this issue continue. Which begs the question – why? To dive deep into this issue, I spoke to The Daily on 2SER.

Submission to National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-24

The Australian Government is developing a National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020‑24, which builds on Australia’s current efforts under the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery 2015-2019. The Government published a Consultation Paper and provided the business community, civil society and academia to help co-design a 2020-24 Plan that will drive Australia’s efforts to combat modern slavery over the next five years. The submission by Justine Nolan and myself can be found below.

Our key recommendations:

  1. The Government should bolster the Modern Slavery Act by introducing sanctions for non-compliance, mandate and provide guidance on human rights due diligence and by creating the post of National Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner;
  2. The Government should “name and shame” entities that do not comply with the Modern Slavery Act, as well as entities that are found to have modern slavery in their supply chain;
  3. The Government should update its procurement policies to follow international best-practice, and provide additional training to procurement officers;
  4. The Government should leverage the impact of public spending by creating a procurement connected policy concerning modern slavery;
  5. The Government should prepare for an increase in modern slavery survivors being referred to authorities by creating adequate support structures based on international best practice;
  6. The Government should include two additional goals which focus on the nexus between climate change and gender with modern slavery.
  7. The Government should facilitate the creation of decent jobs, address wage theft, remove barriers for organised labour, and increase resources for the Fair Work Ombudsman;
  8. The Government should create an anti-slavery helpline and geographically plot calls to reveal hotspots across Australia.
Martijn Boersma and Justine Nolan - Submission National Action Plan

“Addressing Modern Slavery” at the Adelaide Writers’ Week 2020

“Does our globalised economy rely on the exploitation of the vulnerable? Are we, as consumers, an intrinsic part of chains of supply and complicity that keep 40 million people enslaved? Justine Nolan and Martijn Boersma wrote Addressing Modern Slavery to define and dissect a phenomenon we think of as remote but is more prevalent than at any time in human history. Based on years of forensic research, this impressive book is mandatory reading for anyone committed to ending exploitation and the scourge of modern slavery.”

Justine Nolan and myself will be at the Adelaide Writers’ Week on Saturday 29 February, appearing at the West Stage at 12pm. The full program can be found below.

aww20_guide_all-pages_low-res

Governor of New South Wales on “Addressing Modern Slavery”

Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC Governor of New South Wales spoke at the annual Charteris Dinner and Oration, which marked the 95th anniversary of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, on Wednesday 27 November 2019.
The Governor referred to the book “Addressing Modern Slavery” a dozen times.

A full transcript of the speech can be found below.

20191127-AIIA-Charteris-Oration

The Spectator Summer Reading List: Addressing Modern Slavery

Spectator Addressing M

“Justine Nolan and Martijn Boersma, academics, have provided a sobering book, Addressing Modern Slavery (NewSouth Books). In its current form, they say, slavery is less about the ownership of people than their exploitation through deceit, intimidation, and coercion. People from under-developed countries are the most likely victims, often tricked into working on farms or in mines, because paying them effectively nothing is more cost-effective than using machinery. Nolan and Boersma also look at the situation in Australia, where there have been many cases of illegal immigrants or others of dubious legal status being exploited. They argue that legitimate businesses have an obligation to monitor contractors and supply chains to identify cases of exploitation, and outline how it can be done. But the nightmare stories stay in the reader’s mind. This is an awful book, and a very important one.”

Originally published by The Spectator.

Final Update: Coles Shareholder Resolution

Earlier this year Justine Nolan, Laurie Berg and myself supported a shareholder resolution filed by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, which was heard at the Coles Annual General Meeting on 13 November 2019.

The resolution asking the supermarket to reassess its supply chain policies to reduce reliance on third-party audits, and to consult more with unions. At the meeting, workers from the supermarket’s farmer suppliers challenged Coles’ executives over its ethical sourcing policy, asking the retailer to work with unions to ensure workers are fairly treated and paid. The resolution was supported by 12.8 per cent of shareholders.

Coles recently signed memorandum of understanding with three major Australian unions as a sign of the retailer’s willingness to work with unions. Unfortunately this does not include the National Union of Workers (who recently merged with United Voice to form the United Workers Union). This is a missed opportunity for Coles to embrace Worker-Driven Social Responsibility.