Australian union to help foreign workers on 457 visas

by Ray Clancy on November 16, 2012

in Australia Immigration

New project ensures that foreign workers are not exploited

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union in South Australia has launched a new project aimed at ensuring that foreign workers are treated on a level playing field.

It focuses on the recruitment and organising of workers on 457 visas so that unscrupulous employers and employment agents from exploiting workers.

‘A worker is a worker. They are afforded the same rights regardless of where they have come from or what their background is. We want to ensure these workers are given access to our union and the opportunity to organise and bargain collectively,’ said AMWU South Australia Secretary John Camillo.

‘In recent years we have heard many examples of workers on 457 visas being brought out to South Australia on onerous and unreasonable terms and conditions by shoddy agents. Too often employers turn a blind eye and it goes unreported,’ he explained.

‘In many cases these workers are intimidated by their employers and told they will be sent home if they speak up. They need to know that they have fundamental rights as well,’ he added.

Jose Salveron, a former Whyalla resident and AMWU activist, will work with the branch on the project. He said the majority of 457 visa workers in South Australia in metal trades came from the Philippines, although China, Korea and India were also strongly represented.

‘I think that the propensity of these workers to join our union is very high. We have a real opportunity to grow our union and help these workers at the same time,’ he pointed out.

‘They may not know much about unions before they arrive in Australia. But once they are here, we need to make ourselves known and encourage them to be a part of the AMWU,’ he added.

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