||Issue No. 331||03 November 2006|
From Green House to Glass House
Interview: Common Ground
Industrial: A Low Act
Unions: The Number of the Least
Politics: The Smoking Gun
Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
Environment: Low Voltage
History: The Art of Social Justice
Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
Culture: A Forgotten Poet
Honey, They Shrunk Our Pay
The simple step-by-step move is taken straight from the Dartbridge Welding playbook and shows how a theoretical wage of $41,000 a year can be turned into take home income of less than $17,000.
AMWU secretary, Doug Cameron, says the $41,850 gross annual income demanded of guest labour employers is a "rip off" that duds immigrants of thousands of dollars a year, in comparison to Australians doing the same work, but reality is much worse.
The Filipinos employed by Dartbridge were promised the legal minimum but then the smoke and mirrors were applied.
- charged $175 a week each for transports and bunk accommodation
- slugged $49 a week for health insurance
- classified as casuals, effectively stripping $201.20 a week from their wages
- charged an agent's fee of $3660 each
- made to pay interest on the "agent's fee", for six months, at an effective rate of 66 percent, costing another $1098
- federal government still taxed them on their gross figure of $41,850 stripping another $167 a week out of their pay packets
Then, hey presto, the $41,850 promised in the Philippines had turned into $324.15 a week in Brisbane.
The AMWU says the Brisbane welders are just one example of how employers rort the system without attracting the attention of government agencies. There have been worse.
Last month, a Chinese immigrant revealed he had been charged an agent's fee of $A20,000.
Another Chinese tradesmen said he had been charged an agent's fee in Hong Kong, then the Australian employer had forced him to pay it another $10,000 out of his weekly earnings.
Earlier this year, in Perth, Korean immigrants were forced to buy second hand cars, on arrival, at prices locals say were up to three times their real value.
The AMWU has called for a full parliamentary inquiry into the system administered by Immigration Minister, Amanada Vanstone.
Workers Online has already revealed that Vanstone has sat for months on a critical report into the mass importation of Chinese meatworkers, prepared by her own department.
Cameron is calling for a full parliamentary inquiry into the 457 Visa scheme.
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