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Feds Deregister Company Over Union’s Modern Slavery Claims

July 20, 2023

Hundreds of Pacific Islander workers will be found new jobs after labour hire firm Linx had its license revoked overnight by the Federal Government after a sustained union campaign.

Linx workers are relying on charities across Australia to meet basic food and accommodation needs after ongoing problems at Linx.

The union which represents the workers, the Australian Workers Union (AWU), tracked the vulnerable workers from Tasmania to Queensland.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) is today meeting with 221 Linx workers in Tasmania, Stanthorpe and Bundaberg to arrange ongoing employment and accommodation.

The over 200 workers who have already left Linx and who are in legal limbo will also be assisted to find new employment by DEWR.

AWU National Secretary Paul Farrow says Linx’s business model amounts to modern slavery.

“If you go to the Australian Federal Police website and look at the checklist for modern slavery you will find these workers tick a lot of the boxes,” says AWU National Secretary Paul Farrow.

“Let me be clear, if you treat workers like slaves, the AWU is coming after you.

“Our members at Linx are hardworking and willing to work, but many have been weeks or months without work and unlike other workers they cannot simply go to another employer.

“When local farmers have approached Linx with work for our members, Linx have blocked them.

“One in every two of Linx’s workers has left, what does that tell you about how happy they are?

“It’s important that Linx workers now ignore any directives from the company and deal directly with the DEWR.

“We are concerned this is tip of the iceberg, in the year 2019-20 there were 171 people seeking protection visas after coming to Australia on PALM, SWP and PLS visas, in 2022-23 there were 1,698.

“Our members at Linx have told us management withhold workers’ visas, refuse to provide payslips, and resort to bullying and threats to send workers home when concerns are raised.

“Time and again our members have told stories of Linx management making excessive deductions from workers’ pay for substandard accommodation.

“Linx workers feel they have been treated like slaves and we are working with DEWR to find them another approved employer who will comply with Australian law,” says AWU National Secretary Paul Farrow.

Diplomats from Samoa, Vanuatu and PNG have also been informed of developments at Linx.

These Pacific Isander workers are participants in the PALM scheme which offers them agricultural work picking fruit and vegetables.

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