Foreign workers take
Aussie construction jobs

Once again, more Australians have lost job opportunities under the federal government's policy of allowing in hordes of Third Worlders to snatch up employment opportunities in Australia.

A Perth construction company, Hanssen Industries, has applied for 53 workers to be brought in from the Philippines and China. Filipino "guest workers" are already working on the company's building sites.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) says that the move is designed to cut labour costs. The CFMEU's Kevin Reynolds has accused the company of chasing cheap labour from Asia, "We have thousands of workers throughout Australia unemployed," he said "We could provide labour for those jobs be it from Western Australia or from the eastern states - there's plenty of labour available."

John Sutton, National Secretary of the CFMEU, said "This company, like a growing band of employers, is chasing cheap labour, particularly from Asia, where they know they can bring in workers that will be compliant workers. They know that these workers are on temporary work visas and are highly vulnerable workers who won't object because they don't want to be kicked out of the country. And ultimately they know they'll work long hours at a much lower rate of pay than Australians."

The CFMEU's state secretary, Kevin Reynolds, said that experienced construction workers won't put up with sub-standard wages, conditions or health and safety regimes. Of Hanssen, Reynolds said "He's indicated to us that he intends importing 300 guest workers, ...People on the ground say he is paying the Phillipinos $15 an hour, all-in, but we can't confirm that because it's Gerry's secret. He refuses to discuss it. ...We know for a fact he has them working on site, seven days a week. ...What we do know is that he uses AWAs and labour hire to pay all-in rates to his Australian workers. They don't get sick leave, redundancy, rostered days off or annual leave and the guys won't stay."

Hanssen's manager, Dick Smith, says the attraction of foreign workers is that they do not mind what they are doing and they do as they are told. He says the company is not short-changing the foreign workers but concedes it is hard to find Australians who are willing to work at award rates. He said "We have a strict pay structure, which is based on the award system, but because of the shortage of labour, there are lots of companies willing to pay well in excess of the award system."

John Sutton (CFMEU) stated that "Hanssen is merely typical of a whole range of operators who want to pay low wages and want to use this new avenue that the Howard Government has given them through these temporary work visas. The position 10 years ago was there was about 100,000 workers per year coming in on temporary work visas. It's now nearly 700,000 a year coming in on similar visas. And of course there hasn't been a 700 per cent growth in the workforce or the economy. There's just a major trend towards these temporary work visas." ... "It's happening across a variety of industries, from construction, industries like the meat industry, hospitality, restaurants, hotels."

Sutton further said that Hanssen represented a growing number of "aggressive" employers keen to cash-in on John Howard's IR laws and lax immigration policy, "We have seen the number of temporary migration visas skyrocket under this government. This arrangement leaves employers in total control of vulnerable workers. The big winners are unscrupulous employers and the losers are young Australians".

Editorial comment

Whilst foreign workers are usually paid award wages (although many are not), the fact is that due to the construction boom in WA, workers are being paid a lot higher than the award rate, often two to three times higher. With a construction downturn in the eastern states, many workers are available from Victoria, New South Wales, etc, but some employers would rather bring in Third World workers because they are usually both cheap and compliant.

If the foreign workers complain about anything, or try to assert just entitlements, then the employer can just terminate their contract, which means they have to return to their country of origin. Guest workers can't change employers, and are very much under the thumb of any boss they work for. Some globalists will bleat that we should let foreign workers in for as long as they want, and to work for whomever they want - which, of course, would swamp our country with Third Worlders whilst taking jobs from Australian workers.

The answer is to enable Australians to get Aussie jobs:
1) Stop giving away Australian jobs when there are Aussies willing and able to work.
2) Train more Australians via technical schools and TAFEs.
3) Pay Aussie workers decent and competitive wages.

Our current troubles with "guest workers" sounds somewhat like the Chinese coolie labour problem of the 1800s. Once again, history repeats itself - big business want to bring in massive numbers of cheap Asian labour, to drive down Australian wages and working conditions, whilst Aussie workers have to fight, not only for our right to a decent job, but also for our right to exist as a nation.


"Foreign workers push outrages CFMEU", 13 May 2006

"Australian workers passed over for imported labour", 12 May 2006

"Employers abusing migrant workers system: CFMEU", 13 May 2006

"Gerry built apartments fall behind", 13 May 2006

"No to guest labour - Train young Aussies", March 2006 [PDF file]

See also:

"Foreign influx erodes wages", from The Courier Mail 24 March 2006 [PDF file]

May 2006

Join Australia First