Yesterday’s finding by the Fair Work Ombudsman that a group of exploited Chinese and Filipino workers will receive $873,000 in backpay after being exploited by their employer Chia Tung is welcome, but far more needs to be done to bring the company to account and achieve justice for the workers.
The CFMEU, who brought the workers’ plight to the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), said that given the extent of the abuses the company perpetrated against these vulnerable workers, the mere recovery of wages was not enough.
Since its origins in Canada in the 1980s, International Workers Memorial Day on 28 April has become a global occasion of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.
Globally, the International Labour Organisation estimates that 2.34 million people die each year from work-related accidents and diseases. From these fatalities, the majority or 2.02 million are from occupational and work-related diseases. Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives.
BHP’s suggestion that workers’ rights to take industrial action should be more severely limited would put even more power in the hands of vastly powerful mining companies, the Miners Union said today.
It is reported today that the mining giant has recommended to the Productivity Commission’s Workplace Relations inquiry that the Fair Work Act be revised to limit the use of work bans and strikes, with BHP’s coal boss Mike Henry complaining that industrial action affects mining productivity.