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Polly Trade Investigation – Yet Another Wage Theft Story

December 3, 2019

AWU Victoria has described the revelation of under payment at Polytrade to be a national disgrace. Workers were found to be underpaid by approximately $40,000 per year, as well as working a staggering 7 days a week continuously throughout the year. In pitiful conditions and with questionable safety standards these workers were clocking up to 70 hours per week. The AWU has met with four of the Tamil refugee workers, who also spoke to The Age late last month. Using an interpreter from the Migrant Workers Centre, they told the AWU of precarious and risky conditions within Polytrade’s facilities based in Dandenong and Hallam.

The workers went through a number of concerns beginning with working in thick dust caused from crushed glass, accumulated with lack of ventilation. The dust would get into their eyes and mouths at times causing the inside of their mouths to bleed. Coming forward for himself and co workers ex Polytrade worker Vimalsan Thalaisingham said “I got chest pain on the left side, blood noses and blood in the mouth.”

Ben Davis, Branch Secretary of AWU Victoria said the underpayment, which is recorded on the pay-slips, was blatant. “It’s not even hidden, it’s nothing unfortunately sophisticated or complicated. An obvious and blatant underpayment of wages. All or most of them are underpaid substantial amounts.”

The AWU has submitted a claim on behalf of the workers with the Fair Work Ombudsman for “serial underpayment of wages” and a case with the Fair Work Commission alleging Polytrade workers were sacked for being members of the AWU.

The rest of the investigation by Ben Schneiders can be found here The Age

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