Non-English speakers ripped off
KOREAN, Chinese and Spanish-speaking workers are routinely paid below minimum wage as part of a “seedy underbelly of wage theft”, Unions NSW claims.
An audit of 200 job ads in 2016 and 2017 – on Korean language website Hojunara, Chinese website Sydney Today and Spanish-language Facebook pages – found nearly 78% advertising below the minimum award wage.
They included a kitchen aid at a Korean restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Strathfield paying $13 an hour, a position advertised in Chinese for warehouse work in the suburb of Smithfield paying $16 an hour, and a position advertised in Spanish for a cleaner paying $15–$20 an hour.
“This is wage theft on a massive scale. And it’s being perpetrated against people ill-equipped to fight back,” Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said in a statement.
“Often migrant workers are threatened or must consider how a complaint will affect their visa or residency status.”
The report said 100% of jobs advertised in Mandarin and Cantonese were below award.
Hospitality was the worst offender, with the average rate of pay advertised at $13.60 an hour, compared with the award rate of $18.29 an hour.
Unions NSW says it will use the report findings to push for greater right-of-entry powers at the upcoming NSW Labor conference.
“Our research finds that some employers believe they can offer a ‘Korean’, ‘Chinese’ or ‘Spanish’ rate of pay,” Mr Morey said.