||Issue No. 356||21 December 2006|
Interview: The Terminator
Industrial: Vive La Resistance
Unions: Breaking News
History: Seven Deadly Sins
Economics: Back to the Future
Politics: Organising and Organisations
International: Web Retrospective
Review: Shock Therapy
All the Best
See No Evil, OEA
The practise came to light after the AMWU rescued three ripped-off Filipino welders after they were sacked by Brisbane labour hire outfit, Dartbridge Welding.
Branch secretary, Andrew Dettmer, revealed the office, established by the Prime Minister to police and promote his individual contracts, had registered AWAs binding the men to Dartbridge Welding without even checking their authenticity.
"These men met in Manilla with the head of Dartbridge Welding and signed short statements. Now we find that Dartbridge filed AWAs in their names and attached those statements.
"The OEA rubber stamped the AWAs without any checks whatsoever. These men had never seen the AWAs that were supposed to govern their terms of employment.
"They had no freedom and no choice but that didn't matter to the OEA."
In Manilla, the men were told they would receive the minimum rate for "guest workers" on controversial 457 visas of $41,850 a year, plus time and a half and double time for overtime.
But the secret AWAs, provided for massive deductions from those salaries, leaving them with around $300 for 55-hour working weeks.
"These people were grossly exploited and the OEA made it possible," Dettmer said.
He claimed that two families, in the Phillipines, were facing criminal investigations because they had not been able to honour post-dated cheques after Dartbridge punted their bread winners.
The AMWU has found alternative employment for the Filipinos and launched actions on their behalf in the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission.
The men claim to have been dismissed after joining the union.
Several compatriots are still on Dartbridge's books and the AMWU is considering seeking a federal court declaration that would invalidate their current AWAs.
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