||Issue No. 296||24 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
For Whom the Toll Bells
Labor Sells Hydro
Stop the Hordes
Taskforce Shrugs Bashed Teen Worker
The anti-union watchdog is washing its hands of the attack of the Cook Islander who was being paid just $50 per month.
Samuel Kautai was working 12-hour days a day, six days a week for Manuel Puruto, who engaged young workers from the Cook Islands under individual contracts.
"I had a good opportunity to come to Australia because I heard it was good money," said Kautai. "The guy I was working for didn't treat me well. He gave me a lot of damage on my body."
Kautai had his skull smashed, his jaw and teeth broken, has lost his sight in one eye and is also looking at surgery on the second eye, where he has loss of vision.
Puroto was charged on last week by Green Valley police with two counts of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm, with further charges expected to be laid.
Other young workers from the Cook Islands working for Puruto's business, Freliesma Guttering, have made similar allegations to Kautai of ill treatment.
"The Government has established a special $100 million Taskforce - the Australia Building & Construction Industry Taskforce - to 'police' building sites.
However, this Taskforce has refused to investigate or help Samuel Kautai," said CFMEU secretary Andrew Ferguson. "Unfortunately, under John Howard's 'Workchoices', this type of exploitation and abuse is becoming more widespread."
The CFMEU estimates that Kautai is now owed over $90,000.00 in back pay
Kautai's mother Atirua, a shop assistant in the Cook Islands, has now come to Australia with her husband to be with her severely injured son.
"The government should be coming in and helping the young ones like my son," said Atirua Kautai. "It is terrible what this man has done to us.
"At least I know the union will help the young people that are coming over here."
The incident has left Kautai with thousands of dollars worth of medical expenses.
Half brother of the accused and former champion boxer Piri Puruto said from the Cook Islands that it was a good job that the police were involved.
The CFMEU is co-ordinating donations for the family. To donate call (02) 9749 0400.
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