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Mitsubishi factory workers paid as little as $1.90/hour

Chinese workers recruited for the former Mitsubishi site in Adelaide were paid only $1.90 an hour the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges.

Mitsubishi AdelaideThe Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that 24 Chinese employees at Mitsubishi’s Clovelly Park site were underpaid more than $131,000 and has launched a prosecution against the Chinese-registered China Sanan Engineering Construction Corporation who employed the workers in the Federal Magistrates Court in Adelaide.

Mitsubishi closed the Adelaide plant in 2008 after sales of the Mitsubishi 380 large sedan proved less than stellar as oil prices impacted heavily on large car sales in Australia. Fair Work Ombudsman Executive-Director Michael Campbell says it is alleged that Sanan brought the employees to Australia to assess and supervise the dismantling and removal of a press formerly used by Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd.

Mr Campbell says it is alleged Sanan paid the workers between 2005 and 6603 Chinese Yuan a month, or $A1.90 and $A6.75 an hour, until March.

It is alleged the workers were entitled to receive at least the Australian Federal Minimum Wage, which was $14.31 an hour at the time.

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated the matter after receiving information from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Mr Campbell says foreign companies operating in Australia must comply with Australian workplace laws, including minimum pay rates.

It is alleged the Chinese workers arrived in Adelaide on subclass 456 visas, which are designed for short-stay business visits of up to three months for specialised, non-ongoing work here. These were later cancelled by DIAC.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman is committed to its role of enforcing Australia’s labour standards for international workers and will take decisive action against employers who seek to exploit foreign workers,” he said.

“Strong and persistent messages need to be sent to employers that both deter this type of behaviour and reinforce the fact that exploitative practices will not be tolerated.”

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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