A possie in Aussie

February 18, 2009

Unions support immigrant workers

Filed under: Immigrant workers — Nayano @ 8:20 am
Tags: , , ,

Immigrant workers in Britain work for 33% of the minimum wage says one news site, while The Daily Star screams £2-AN-HOUR BRIGADE NICKING YOUR JOBS. Thiese claims are based on the tabloid Daily Star’s ‘research’, that is that they went around to where groups of immigrants were waiting to be picked up by employers offering daily work and asked a few, in effect, “How desperate are you? How little would you work for?’

British unions are becoming concerned that the worsening jobs crisis “white working-class voters will turn toward the BNP (an extreme right-wing anti-immigration group).

In Australia the news about the seasonal migrant workers from the Pacific has changed, now that the workers have finally arrived from complaints that the Government program was taking too long to be implemented to the first claims of ‘They take our jobs’.  Pacific worker scheme sparks unemployment debate . Andrew Bartlett posted counter-arguments to these claims against workers on 457 visas a couple of days ago.

Australian unions have joined their counterparts in Britain by speaking out against the concerns. The ABC quotes Paul Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, as saying:

“You’re not talking about huge amounts of workers and you’re talking about a sector that this year still has a shortfall of 100,000 workers,” Mr Howes said.”

A Possie in Aussie had a post about the need for migrant workers to unite – and it is promising to see unions speaking up to stop uninformed ranting.

Migrant workers pay taxes, and in many cases get little or no benefits in return. The Center for Intercultural Organizing points out that even undocumented immigrants have pumped over $50 billion dollars into the US economy. Wage Watchers

The Australian government has ever-tightening controls on some work visas that give heavy penalties for exploitation of foreign workers, including pay levels.

But there are other visa categories that leave holders wide open to scams, as ABC Radio National’s Background Briefing story Paying to be permanent revealed. Independent skilled visas require holders, who come without pre-arranged employment, to live and work in Australia for designated periods, and if the work requirement is not filled the visa is not renewed.  These are the people in Australia who are the most vulnerable to scams and exploitation.

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