Newsletter of January, 2019

Refugee Writer on Manus Wins Prestigious Australian Prize

Behrouz Boochani

Source: AAP

Behrouz Boochani, Iranian-Kurdish journalist and writer who has been held on Manus since 2013, won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier's Prize for Nonfiction in January 2019, after NSW rejected his book as contender, as ABC reported.

No Friend But the Mountains, a memoir typed on his mobile phone from Manus Prison, not only won the most valuable literary award, the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature, it also came first in the non-fiction category, claiming anther $25,000.

"My main aim has always been for the people in Australia and around the world to understand deeply how this system has tortured innocent people on Manus and Nauru in a systematic way for almost six years," he told Guardian Australia, where he was a columnist. “I hope this award will bring more attention to our situation, and create change, and end this barbaric policy.”

According to The Conversation, Boochani was the first “non-Australian” author to win the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards which was establish by the state government in 1985 to honour Australian writing.

 

Melbourne 7-Eleven Franchisee Fined 335k for Ripping Workers

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

After the cash-back scandal broke out in 2015, 7-Eleven was in the spot light once again for exploiting their workers throughout 2015 and 2016 in the heart of Melbourne, as the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The store owner Jing Qi Xia and manager Ai Ling Lin were fined $335,664 for implementing the so-called cash-back scheme in late 2015, several months after the exact scheme was first revealed and widely covered by media in August 2015. 

Three staff at the outlet, all international students, were informed that their flat rate were $15 per hour and had to return part of their salary to a drop box, leaving them as little as $8.53 per hour.

The unscrupulous pair were also found of paying another worker at Ajisen Ramen franchise restaurant inside Melbourne Central as little as $3.98 an hour.

Replying to Migrant Workers Centre’s social media post, 7-Eleven Australia said that they welcome the legal action and fully support Fair Work Ombudsman’s investigation since 2016.

“We have zero tolerance for wage fraud, have implemented most comprehensive reforms to eradicate it & will act in strongest available ways against it,” said the chain convenience store’s social media account.

 

Two Young Taiwanese Killed While Working for Uber Eats

Source: Daily Mail

Kuan Wei 'Bill' Chen, 28, and his passenger, Su Po Hsu, 32, tragically died after a bus rammed their scooter from the back while they were delivering food in the Sydney suburb of Kingsgrove on 28 Jan 2019, as the Daily Mail reported.

Upon impact Chen was thrown under an oncoming vehicle and killed, as Hsu also passed away at the scene while working for the gig economy giant Uber Eats.

“Su Po (Hsu) had got to Australia last year. I was roommates with Bill (Chen) in 2013. We worked together in Melbourne,” a friend of both men told Daily Telegraph. “I got news from a Facebook group that two (Taiwanese) people had been killed, the names on the post looked familiar.”

Bus driver Luis Rojas, 49, was charged with dangerous and negligent driving causing death, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seat belt.

 

For comments and inquiries, please contact the Migrant Workers Centre on mwc@vthc.org.au or Sam Jiayi Liu, Media and Communications Officer, on jliu@vthc.org.au