Friday, 28 September 2007

Guest Workers In Australia

Update 18 Dec 2007: It was reported in today's Sydney Morning Herald that Mr Gong and Mr Huang reached a settlement with their former employer and will now be free to return to their families in China, with financial security. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but were believed to cover all of what they were owed.

Meet Mr Huang Jianzhing, and behind to the right Mr Gong Wei.

They each paid $ 12 000 to a recruitment agent in China to come to work in Australia under the Australian government's 457 workers' visa program. This allows Australian companies to employ overseas workers for a limited period of time. Their families remain in China. Like many guest workers, they were lead to believe they would be paid a fair wage, and would be able to help their families at home.

Mr Huang and Mr Gong told us through the translator that when they arrived in Australia they were paid $50 a week, and forced to work up to 17 hours straight, in sometimes dangerous conditions. They are currently homeless, having been fired when they complained.

The Construction Union is housing them and assisting them with a legal case to try to cover back pay.

Other workers facing a similar situation have been deported before they can attempt to get back pay owed.

A rally was held today outside the Sydney office of Australian prime Minister, John Howard, to protest about the exploitation of these and other workers like them.


18 comments:

  1. I hope some justice is forthcoming. Risks are involved and any worker has to be one step ahead, including Australian who work o/s but I guess they are usually in a better bargaining position than the unskilled.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great picture, Sally.
    It's been on the news down here too.
    A shocking story. I really don't know what range of solutions are possible, nor how this criminality can be controlled, avoided or prosecuted etc.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another emigration exploitation history; it's becoming common everywhere around the world, but it's a shame...
    I just left Bali and I’m posting on Singapore at Blogtrotter.
    Would love to see you there. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. OMG, I feel so ashamed that this happens in our country.Thank goodness their plight is being shown for what it is. Thank goodness they have a union helping them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hy Sally, I'm Fabi from Rome, Italy.
    I like yours blogs and I see all the photos in them and there're beautiful ! I love Sydney, i've lived for eight months in cooge and I never forget alls the moments and lights of Sydney.
    Sorry for my bat english, I'll come back to visit you
    bye and love
    fabi

    ReplyDelete
  6. A nice picture! Glad to know the union can help them. I know some Chinese crave for abroad jobs and lives. After they arrived in an alien country, sth may not be as pleasant as they hoped. To some extent, I hate that agents, that liers.

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