27/03/2009 - 14:07

Scaffidi 457 workers facing deportation

27/03/2009 - 14:07

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The seven Filipino 457 workers who were laid off from Premier Building Solutions have lost their bid to stay in Australia and are likely to be deported after April 9.

The seven Filipino 457 workers who were laid off from Premier Building Solutions have lost their bid to stay in Australia and are likely to be deported after April 9.

The workers were dismissed from the company run by Joe Scaffidi, husband of Perth mayor Lisa Scaffidi, earlier this month.

Department of Immigration has advised if they do not find work within 28 days, they will lose their 457 visas.

The workers have lodged unlawful termination complaints with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the Workplace Ombudsman and the Department of Commerce.

Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union says if the men are deported after April 9, it is unlikely they will be able to afford to return to Perth to give evidence in court in relation to any of their complaints, including the non-payment of overtime and their unlawful dismissals.

"These workers have faced exploitation of the worst kind, been treated badly by their boss. I would expect better from people of such high profile," AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said.

Lawyer representing the workers Tim Kucera says the men were owed more than $50,000 in unpaid overtime, and were compelled in an unwritten condition of employment to pay $150 per week to live in Mr Scaffidi's one-bedroom apartment.

He says the workers first approached Mr Scaffidi with their concerns about the overtime and living arrangements but were unsatisfied with the response, and after approaching the union, were dismissed.

The Scaffidis have responded that the men had been ten-weeks in arrears but were allowed to stay, and were given company cars and fuel cards.

Mr Kucera asserts they were given one ute to drive to work in, and only one worker had a Western License to drive it.

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