||Issue No. 166||14 February 2003|
A Call To Arms
Interview: Agenda 2003
Peace: The Colour Purple
Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
Solidarity: Workers Against War
Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
International: Industrial Warfare
History: Unions and the Vietnam War
Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Poetry: Return To Sender
Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
The Locker Room
A Tale of Two Malls
Talk Back Tom
On The Beach
Ribs and Rumps Something for Government to Chew On
Two of the workers who alleged in the Chief Industrial Magistrate's Court that they had been ripped off hundreds of thousands of dollars, William Ndlovu and Reevis Khumalo, now face being sent back to South Africa because they no longer have a sponsoring employer.
The third, Elliot Dube, is relatively safe because he has a spouse's visa after marrying an Australian woman.
Labor Council assistant secretary, Chris Christodoulou, called the circumstances facing the chefs "profoundly unfair".
On the one hand, he said, the employer appears to be able to continue sourcing immigrant labour but the workers could be thrown out of the country.
Christodoulou said it was imperative that Government introduced sanctions on employers who used immigrant labour to defeat Australian legal requirements.
"Workers in this situation are extremely vulnerable," Christodoulou said. "They are in this country legally while sponsored by employers but, as things stand, there are no penalties on employers who abuse this trust.
"Trade unions have made the Government aware of dozens of instances where immigrant workers have been underpaid of otherwise exploited but, so far, nothing has been done to close the loophole."
He called on "legitimate" hospitality industry employers to consider employing Ndlovu and Khumalo so they weren't doubly victimised.
Lawyers for the trio and counsel for the Manly eatery reached a "confidential" settlement this week after months of legal arguments. While nobody close to the case would confirm the specifics, Workers Online understands Ribs and Rumps agreed to pay out more than $100,000.
In statements filed with the court, each of the chefs claimed to have been underpaid by more than $100,000. They said repeated requests to be paid in Australian dollars had been rejected by the employer who told them the Australian Government would not allow it.
Until they sought legal representation, last year, they were paid rands into South African bank accounts.
At least two of the men claimed to have been worked six or seven days a week, including stints on the construction of a new Ribs and Rumps outlet at Gordon.
In his statement to the court, the employer sought to offset thousands of dollars in alleged benefits such as accommodation, airfares, soap, clothing and footwear against award entitlements.
Khumalo and Ndlovu both confirmed that they were seeking work in Australia. They said they had constructed new lives since arriving in the country more than four years ago.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|