Study shows demand for underpayment inquiry

In a Roy Morgan Research poll conducted last week, 77 per cent of respondents said they supported the establishment of a ‘National Crimes Authority’ to investigate deals between unions and large employers on the payment of below-award rates to workers.

The special snap SMS Morgan Poll was conducted with a cross-section of 1,503 Australians aged 18 and over.

Analysis by voting preference shows a majority of supporters of all parties say the federal Government should establish the authority to investigate this underpayment. Those respondents supporting the move included:

  • 85 per cent of Coalition voters.
  • 69 per cent of Labor voters.
  • 71 per cent of Greens voters.
  • 85 per cent of independent/others voters.

Roy Morgan Research Executive Chairman Gary Morgan says that since August 2015, when Melbourne newspaper The Age broke the 7-Eleven story covering massive underpayment of workers, there have been other allegations of similar fraudulent activity in underpaying other workers.

“The Fair Work Commission decision [June 1, 2016] overturning Coles’ enterprise agreement is a significant escalation of the industrial-relations debate on wages and over-award payments,” he said.

“Both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have up until now not addressed the issue.

“Turnbull and Shorten must show leadership by tackling Australia’s most significant problem of our flawed IR system and the massive ‘cash economy’ – both completely ignored by the (draft) August 2015 Productivity Commission report into Australia’s workplace relations framework – which only once mentioned the ‘cash economy’.”

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