TWU NSW MEDIA RELEASE, 25 May 2016
Transport Workers Union NSW Acting Secretary Richard Olsen has welcomed the decision by the Fair Work Commission to award a driver unfairly dismissed by the Indian Consulate in Sydney more than $10,000 saying that it sends a clear message that no employer is above the law.
Mr Olsen was speaking after the Fair Work Commission ruled in favour of TWU member and former employee of the Consulate, Hitender Kumar, who was unfairly dismissed by the Consulate last year.
“It takes guts to stand up to your boss – especially when that boss is a Foreign Consulate who sacks you for highlighting major issues in the workplace,” Mr Olsen said.
“This decision sends a message to all workers in Australia, especially foreign migrants, that you have rights no matter who your boss is or what they tell you.
“It also send a message to employers that even if you have diplomatic immunity, you still have to play by Australian workplace laws.”
Mr Olsen said that there are systematic problems with the exploitation of foreign workers in Australia.
“From 7-Eleven, the transport industry and all the way up to foreign embassies, we have seen foreign migrants underpaid, exploited and sacked by their bosses if they speak up,” Mr Olsen said.
“I would encourage any workers who are victims of workplace harassment or underpayment to get in touch with a union to learn about their rights as Australian workers.
“Whether you have a 30,000 year heritage in Australia or you just arrived here last week, if you do Aussie work then you have Aussie rights.”
Mr Kumar said that he was delighted the Fair Work Commission Court had ruled in his favour.
“When I began to highlight serious issues and discrepancies in what was going on at the consulate, I was sacked on a trumped up charge. I’m delighted that I’ve been vindicated by the Courts,” Mr Kumar said.
“I want to tell other Australians, particularly migrants, to not be afraid. If you think are being exploited or there is something happening at work that is not right, speak out.”
U2015/ 4483 Hitender Kumar v Consulate General of India, Sydney
In the decision handed yesterday the FWC awarded Mr Kumar $10,620 which is equivalent to 12 weeks in pay.
Comments from the decision by Commissioner Cambridge include:
- The dismissal of the applicant was unjust and unreasonable. It was unjust primarily because the applicant was denied procedural fairness, and it was unreasonable primarily because it was without sound and defensible reason.
- The employer adopted an approach which could not even remotely lend itself to securing procedural fairness and natural justice.
- The processes that the employer adopted for dealing with the allegations of the applicant’s unsatisfactory performance and conduct, was severely flawed, such that the applicant was denied natural justice.