09 February 2006

Australia imports EU labour

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Union officials in South Australia are in a furor over 34 European tradesmen who are building a key component of Holden's new plant at Elizabeth; they say the jobs should have gone to locals.

The Croatians and Slovenians, employed by German contract builders, have allegedly been underpaid over the past two months and one man has complained he was threatened with deportation because he took a sick day.

The Durr company is the project manager for the construction of General Motors Holden's new paint shop at Elizabeth.

The paint line was built in Germany and it is understood another German company, Reschka, was sub-contracted to do the installation work and hired the Croatian workers.

Questions about the necessity of brining in foreign workers have been raised by union officials who believe the EU workers are being exploited.

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wright said SafeWork SA was investigating whether all occupational, health and safety as well as industrial relations legal requirements hade been met.

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