||Issue No. 327||06 October 2006|
The Road to Bangalore
Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Unions: The IT Factor
Politics: Bargain Basement
Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Corporate: Two Sides
International: Unfair Dismissals
History: A Stitch in Time
Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
AMWU Challenges Forced Deportation
AMWU lawyers have filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission Victoria, alleging Lakeside Packaging discriminated against Zhihong Fu on the grounds of serious injuries he sustained at work.
Fu was forced to return to work after breaking his right wrist in a fall and claimed that injury led to him spraining his right arm when he was unable to properly control a drill.
Fu stopped work on his doctor's orders and Lakeside Packaging responded by sacking him and notifying him he would be deported within 28 days.
The 49-year-old was earning thousands of dollars a year less than the $41,000 minimum prescribed under the federal government's 457 visa program.
At the time of his dismissal he hadn't earned barely half the $A27,000 it cost him to get a 457 visa in Shanghai.
AMWU Victorian secretary, Dave Oliver, said lack of monitoring invited employers to abuse the controversial skilled immigration scheme.
"The federal government is to blame for Zhihong Fu's mistreatment," Oliver said.
"It assisted Lakeside Packaging to bring him here and its failure to police the scheme invites unscrupulous employers to exploit and mistreat people like Mr Fu."
AMWU print division secretary, Jim Reid, said the union was aware of many overseas workers being illegally charged "tens of thousands of dollars" for visas.
Fu Zhihong approached the AMWU after hearing media publicity about its support for a countryman who had been ripped off in Melbourne.
Oliver said it was "plain wrong" to import a worker into Australia and then deport him because he was injured on the job.
The federal government, last week, announced oversight of skilled immigration would be further loosened by outsourcing skills assessments to countries of origin.
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