An Australian labor dispute settlements court decided to prosecute three companies, and one company director for labor violations against four Filipino oil rig workers who stand to claim more than AUS$120,000 worth of back payments.
In a statement, the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) said the four were only being paid AUS$3 (approximately P137) per hour, less than what a high school student working at a McDonald’s outlet receives in Australia.
“The sad fact for those four Filipino workers was that they were earning only $900 a month for working an 84-hour week on a floating oil rig located several hundred kilometers off the coast of Western Australia in a cyclone zone,” said Paul Howes, AWU National Secretary.
Howes said this was not the first time that AWU has campaigned for the rights of foreign workers subjected to “slave-labor style conditions” on local off-shore oil and gas fields.
Howes said three years ago, the Australian government said it would ban Asian workers from toiling on oil fields off Western Australia.
However, Howes noted that until now big oil firms continue “misusing Asian workers.”
“Filipino and other Asian workers are now being brought in by dodgy sub-contractors, while the big brand name oil and gas multinationals wash their hands of all responsibility,” he said.
“The best way is to ensure responsibility is taken right across the labor supply chain to deliver decency and respect and then to act quickly, and decisively, to shut down scams,” Howes said. – VVP, GMA News