||Issue No. 294||10 February 2006|
Interview: Court's in Session
Industrial: Whose Choices?
Politics: Peter's Principles
Environment: TINA or Greener?
History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
Education: No AWA - No Job
Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
Review: Charlie the Serf
The Locker Room
Belated Merry Whatmas?
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
I Think Therefore I Scam
A Taxing Answer
Leslie John Turner
Holden's Bad Deal for Adelaide
Employees stopped work last week to discuss Holden's use of 35 Croatian workers through a German subcontractor.
Unions claim locals were overlooked to perform the work and are concerned the foreign workers are being underpaid and treated poorly.
"Firstly, in a local area that has unemployment of up to 19 per cent in places, how could it be that Holden needed to import these 35 workers from Croatia?" Australian Manufacturing Union national secretary, Doug Cameron, asked.
"Secondly, the union was contacted when one of the workers was threatened with deportation because he was sick and could not attend work."
The subcontractor, Reschka, initially told unions it was paying the workers 12 Euro ($A19.43) an hour, which is below the standard rate of $20 to $25 and does not include allowances.
Reschka later revised its figure to 23 Euro ($A37.20), but the workers confirmed with the AMWU they were being paid 12 Euro.
Holden gave assurances the situation would not occur again, but the AMWU is blaming Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone for allowing the visas in the first place.
"The Immigration Department's own guidelines say that businesses importing labour must be unable to meet their skill needs from within the Australian Labor force," Cameron said.
"However, there was obviously no attempt by the company to find local workers."
AMWU SA secretary John Camillo said car manufacturers had a responsibility to the local community.
"A big concern for us is that, with a high unemployment rate in the northern suburbs and the 1000-plus workers retrenched at Holden (late last year), why haven't these people been given the opportunity to be trained for this work," he said.
The Croatians were brought in to install a paint line in Holden's factory.
A Holden spokesman told Australian Associated Press it had no control over how the foreign workers were hired and did not condone any unfair work practices.
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