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Aussie Work, Aussie Rights campaign aims to protect 457 workers

15 August, 2013

The exploitation of foreign workers in Australia and the need to make sure that our kids receive the skills and training they require for the jobs of today and tomorrow is back on the electoral agenda.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) launched its campaign for Aussie Work, Aussie Rights in Sydney recently.

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said: "Whether you have a 60,000-year family heritage in Australia or you arrived here last week, when you do Aussie work you deserve Aussie rights."
 
"There are some 1.4 million people with working visas in Australia and too many live in fear of speaking out against their boss or are deep in debt to unscrupulous migration agents.
 
"We have seen numerous examples of exploited 457 workers, migration agents ripping off foreign workers for tens of thousands of dollars and student and working holiday visa holders forced to live and work in filthy and dangerous conditions while being grossly underpaid.
 
"When dodgy bosses exploit migrant workers, it makes more difficult for our kids to get the jobs and training they need and it gives these companies an unfair advantage over the majority of Aussie businesses that play by the rules.
 
"But it's not just con-men and dodgy restaurants taking advantage of holes in our labour laws and migration system. Blue chip companies like Qantas/Jetstar are currently being prosecuted by the Fair Work Commission for paying Thai flight attendants working on Australian domestic routes as little as $247 a month."
 
As part of the campaign the TWU will write to more than 850 electoral candidates asking them to sign the pledge for better protections for migrant workers and making sure Australia has the skills and training to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.
 
Tony continued: "The Labor government made some important changes to legislation around the 457 visas earlier this year – but more needs to be done.
 
"In contrast, the Federal Coalition wants to wind the clock back on sensible changes to skilled migration laws, with Tony Abbott pledging that 457 visas will be a "mainstay" of their immigration program if he is elected."
 
Tony Sheldon concluded: "Recruiting labour from overseas is a quick and easy short-term solution to skill shortages, but the long-term solution lies in giving young Australians the opportunity to develop the skills and expertise that our economy needs."

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Max | Friday, August 16, 2013, 2:43 PM
Let it be mandatory to only employ 457 visa workers that bring their whole families to Australia. You can pay the foreign worker the base wage in Australia and he will be 10 times better of than the Australian equivalent. There is no mortgage, school fees, medical expense's , water bills, second car expense's, etc and all of the money gets generated back in their country ,not being spent in the local economy .This also does nothing for employing our own youth as it is easier and cheaper importing ready to go labour ,leaving our youth to scobble for dead end jobs.
dave d | Monday, August 19, 2013, 10:20 AM
I just wish this union mob could get their act together - they swing to suit the political climate at the time - they don't want immigrant workers taking Aussie jobs and in the next instance they argue how comfortably they should be treating them. I think the truth of the matter is they need the downtrodden, or the union fat cats are out of a job. Due to the fact that the current union members are starting to wake up to how gutless the union bodies are when dealing with this labor government that are doing nothing to encourage business/employment for Aussies, only throwing money around to bludgers.
Hedley | Monday, August 19, 2013, 12:55 PM
Just in case the idea out there is that training young engineering trades has come to a halt, I advise that some kids are getting a chance. In our case, we took advantage of the latest scheme to encourage taking on another apprentice, did the sums, took into account that the economy could ONLY get better, and contacted one of the better schools. (One with an engineering trade approach).The apprentice has been signed up, being paid well above the award, and has not dissappointed his family by leaving school before the age of seventeen. Everyone happy. So what is the story from the larger companies? Are their directors chasing short-term budget issues? Are their shareholders not watching, even not able to read, the longer term future of their investment? Perhaps they read "higher growth in engineering students at university" as "no problem". Sorry. Without engineering trades, the imports will continue and jobs growth in manufacturing has not got a hope. Back to 457's then....unless the bigger companies have a rethink. Over to the shareholders I guess. Or are they going to leave it to the government to introduce legislation to give our youth a fair go?
max | Monday, August 19, 2013, 1:44 PM
We said Hedley We also are a small engineering company and take an apprentice every year. We do this for the future of our business and the of this great country.