Tag: low wages

18,000 ‘Illegal’ Indians (Punjabis) in Italy’s Latina area’s agriculture sector face exploitation with low wages

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Photo- SikhNet

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 2 February 2020: Lakhs of people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh work as laborers in Punjab, and lakhs of Punjabis continue to migrate to other countries the world over to work often at low wages. A story ‘Clandestine employment of Indians in Italy’ – 2018 by DW (German Public Broadcast service) Documentary, available on YouTube, is revealing and exposes the massive supply of cheap labor from Punjab, India to Italy to work in its agricultural sector.

The rather paradoxical hate-filled issue of ‘illegal’ migrants allegedly from neighboring Bangladesh to India has been headline news after amendments to its citizenship act and the plan for a citizen’s register. But the flow of illegal labor to other countries doesn’t seem to be on the agenda of New Delhi. This 12 minutes DW news documentary is quite revealing exposing the trial of organized human exploitation and trafficking from India.

It reveals, there are about 18,000 Indian illegal workers (mainly Sikhs from Punjab) who are working in vegetable and other fields in Latina, in Italy’s Lazio region. They are paid around Euro 3.50 to five per hour, which is much lower hen the official wage of around 7 Euros per hour. These Punjabis work seven days a week and have almost no contact with the mainstream Italians.

The documentary says most of these people paid thousands of to human traffickers, have fake passports, fake visas or travel documents, driving licenses etc. The employers and they themselves are part of the illegal system operating for this unlawful employment where the end product is exported to other countries. Workers do not speak out of fear of losing their jobs and deportation to India.

Opinions are mixed with some feeling it is better to work this way than to be on welfare or be jobless in the home country of 1.3 billion people. Others, feel this is sheer exploitation with human traffickers making big money from these people coming from India’s premier agriculture state- Punjab. Do the Governments in Punjab or New Delhi care?

There is one thing for sure, no one wants to go back to India, the documentary says.

Documentary link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MaQs3AjhdI

Overseas students paid low wages in Australia

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Melbourne: When it comes to the worst paid jobs in Melbourne international students take the prize, according to an online survey by the cleaning and hospitality union, United Voice.

Pay as low as $7 an hour for weekend shifts in a Sydney Road restaurant, and $8 and $9 an hour in central city eateries regardless of whether it is a day, night or weekend shift are common according to a survey of international students’ work experiences.

Many students working as cleaners reported illegal pay rates from $8 to $15 an hour.

United Voice state secretary Jess Walsh said the survey revealed widespread ignorance of work rights among international students who are rallying today at the State Library in a protest marking International Anti-Poverty Day.

“International students have become an invisible army of low paid, exploited workers in our city. Many of them must work to support themselves while they study, but their vulnerability means they are prey for unscrupulous employers,” said Walsh.

“These survey findings underline the importance of our campaign for a new Clean Start agreement for city office cleaners that will ensure fair and equal pay and rights for all.”

More than 200 international students participated in the survey this year. It offers a rare and shocking insight into the real world experiences of international students in Melbourne:

• A quarter of those responding received $10 or less an hour;
• Sixty per cent earned less than the national minimum wage ($16.37an hour).
• 79 per cent said they knew little or nothing about their rights at work;
• 76 per cent said they did not receive penalties for weekend or night work.

Slightly better paid than many in the survey, but again with no shift loadings or weekend penalties, was the scooter-riding pizza delivery worker who reported receiving $12 p/hour for shifts of up to 10 hours without a break. He said that the best part of his job was sightseeing around Melbourne while making deliveries; but the worst of it was being harassed by late night drunks and the drug-affected, and “scoldings” from customers and his supervisor.

A 23 year old trainee chef at William Angliss Institute said he was paid $8 an hour while working as a kitchen hand in a city café. Another student said he recently quit his $9 an hour job when the owner of the café where he was a waiter insisted on recycling uneaten rice from a customer’s plate as an ingredient for fried rice. He said that his pay was unchanged whether he worked from 10am-2pm, or 6pm-10pm.

The grim truth of employment for international students does not stop at illegal and exploitative rates of pay. Added to the package for some are abuse and racism. A female cleaner on $15 an hour said she was asked for sexual favours in return for her predator supporting her bid for a permanent job.

The lowest rate of pay revealed by the survey was effectively $4 an hour for the student who in Adelaide delivered junk mail eight hours a day for three days in return for $100.

An international student employed as a cleaner in city office buildings said he was being paid $18 an hour by a sub-contractor to the Glad Group. This is more than $6 an hour below the agreed city rate of pay for part time cleaners on evening shifts.

Walsh said that after the midday rally members of United Voice would demonstrate against the Glad Group at 90 Collins St. Glad is one of the worst offenders in terms of using subcontractors who employ cleaners on sub-standard wages.

Union research has found that many subcontractors employ international students, some who report being paid $18 an hour which is $6 an hour below the city-wide Clean Start Agreement rate.

Recently, United Voice took action against Glad when it sought orders from Fair Work Australia requiring the company to reveal pay rates for all its city cleaners. This came after a company manager was overheard boasting of how she had hidden business papers from union officials who were checking on employment conditions at city sites cleaned by Glad.

Source: United Voice