Earlier this year the AMIEU uncovered a plant that had contracted a Labour Hire firm in which widespread underpayments was occurring for Korean backpacker workers. These young workers were paid rates lower than the Award, no shift, weekend or overtime penalty rates were being applied and they were not receiving their superannuation entitlements.
The AMIEU held meetings for the Korean workers and organised a Korean translator so we could explain to them that they were being ripped off and educate them on their working rights. One hundred and forty seven (147) Koreans joined the Union and we were able to successfully force the Labour hire firm to back pay entitlements and unpaid super. The total amount was in the six figures!
Employers will ultimately seek out the lowest cost for labour. The message here for members is that left unaddressed unsuspecting overseas guest workers may be ripped off and local jobs will be lost due to the employers seeking lower rates of pay. This is a concern for all members across Queensland as employers are moving more to using Labour Hire firms and white ant Union collective agreements. As I explained to members at this site, Australia has an agreement with other countries which allows an exchange of working visas for people aged 30 and under. Young Australians can travel and work in these countries and Australia allows the younger workers of those countries to do the same here. When these people come and work in Australia they should be paid as the same as everyone else and unscrupulous employers are taking advantage of those workers not knowing their rights.