Newsletter of September 2018 - Migrant Workers Centre Skip navigation

Newsletter of September 2018

International students trapped in exploitative “Chinese UberEATS” as government opens inquiry

Kiet is a delivery rider for Easi.

Source: SBS


International students were found of being underpaid by a Chinese language food delivery platform and very often had to work in danger because of lack of insurance, as SBS reported on 14 Sep 2018.

Kiet, an international student from Malaysia, said that he only made $150, which is blew the minimum wage as a casual worker, after a full day of work. Meanwhile, dashing through busy streets made his job dangerous. “I don’t have any insurance. So if something happens, I can’t make a claim. This job is really dangerous,” Kiet told SBS.

The Australian Delivery United Group, referred to as “Chinese UberEATS” across online platforms, claimed that the riders are independent contractors instead of as employees who are covered by award wages, superannuation, and workers’ compensation.

 “Because of the size of some of the smaller operators, they are getting away with the same sort of exploitation, but unlike the larger ones they aren’t getting found out,” noted Transport Workers Union (TWU) national secretary Tony Sheldon.

In response the Victorian Government established an inquiry into the on-demand workforce, aiming to determine what legislation is required to better protect workers and consumers, as ABC reported on 21 Sep. 

"Unfortunately, there have been way too many examples of exploitation of workers and also those workers facing pretty unsafe circumstances, particularly when they are using our roads," Ms Hutchins said. "We want to make sure that those jobs are built free of exploitation of the workforce."

The inquiry is expected to deliver a final report to the Government in late 2019, and will be seeking public submissions, including worker and business input.


Chinese plasterers win back pay after union strikes enterprise agreement

Workers walk off job

Source: ABC


More than 100 plasterers from China won back-payment of their wages and are now covered by an enterprise agreement struck by construction industry union CFMMEU at a worksite in Hobart, according to Red Flag.

The Chinese workers, hired by a Melbourne-based company Accuracy Interiors, walked off their jobs on 6 Sep in protest against sham contracting and non-payment of wages of up to eight weeks, as ABC reported earlier in September.

"We are here six week but no money," A worker who did not want to be identified told the ABC. “A lot of people … borrow the money and buy the food. Very sad.”

“This is an epidemic in our industry,” noted Kevin Harkins, a CFMMEU organiser in Hobart.

However, after the union intervention, most workers joined CFMMEU, won protection of an enterprise bargaining agreement and went back to work on the $689 million Royal Hobart Hospital project.

The construction company in charge of the project cancelled its contract with Accuracy Interiors and promised to pay workers what they are owed.


Mother of murdered Liep Gony speaks up about her son after 11 years, condemning racism

Martha Ojulo, the mother of murdered teenager Liep Gony.

Photo: Darrian Traynor


Last month marked the 11th anniversary of the racially motivated murder of much-loved South Sudanese-Australian teenager Liep Gony.

On 27 Sep, hundreds gathered in front of the Victorian Parliament to memorise him and support his mother to speak up for her loss for the first time.

Liep’s grief-stricken family demanded politicians stop using divisive, stigmatising and destructive racist rhetoric, according to the Melbourne-based Migrant Workers Centre which was there to marshal the crowd.

“This is everything I’ve ever wanted for Liep and for my family: for everybody to stand together united as one to fight against what happened to my cousin,” noted one of Liep’s cousins.

On September 26, 2007, Liep was beaten by two men armed with long metal poles who claimed to "take my town back" wanted to "kill the blacks", and left for dead with severe head injuries. He died in hospital one day after, as the ABC reported.

"It's heartbreaking because Liep was not like that [involved in African gangs]. Liep was not a criminal. He was a good boy," said Ms Martha Ojulo, mother of Liep. "He was killed because of his skin colour."

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