Unsavoury Employer Practices: Understanding Temporary Migrant Work in the Australian Food Services Sector
International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations (Forthcoming)
25 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2018
Date Written: November 1, 2018
Why do employers in specific sectors significantly use migrant workers? Using temporary migrant work in the Australian food services sector as a case-study, this paper argues that employers’ demand for migrant workers is shaped by two forms of social regulation: the immigration controls that create a supply of different kinds of migrant workers and the labour market norms and institutions that operate within a specific industrial sector. Specifically, the paper argues that the cost-minimisation strategy of Australian food services sector in conjunction with its precarious work norms result in a ‘demand’ on the part of its employers for vulnerable workers to perform precarious jobs. Such ‘demand’ has been met in part by the workers supplied through temporary labour migration programs who may be an attractive form of precarious labour because of the conditionalities they experience. The normalization of non-compliance with labour laws by food service employers, which stems from the broader culture of illegality in the sector, further heightens the vulnerability (attractiveness) of temporary migrant labour and allows their employers to ‘demand’ illegal working conditions.
Keywords: Migrant workers, Use of migrant labour, Conditionalities, Sectoral Regulation, Food Services
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