Thiess Put ‘Illegal Clauses’ In Migrant Workers’ Contracts: Union

One of the world’s largest mining services companies is allegedly taking illegal measures to prevent West Australian migrant workers from joining unions, a top union body says.

Perth Now, 11 May 2015

The Electrical Trade Union said Thiess had placed illegal clauses in contracts which prohibited around 11 skilled migrant workers from joining a union.

Thiess operates major infrastructure services and mining contracts in both Australia and around the world.

Its contracts in WA include energy maintenance contracts for Western Power and energy and communications for mining operations off the state’s northwest coast.

The union said the migrant workers, who have been working in electricity network maintenance in WA and Melbourne, would face being sacked or deported if they attempted to join.

The union assistant national secretary Dave Mier said the “scandal” had highlighted the risks of allowing large companies to self-regulate their use of the 457 worker visa.

“Allowing companies like Thiess to self-regulate is a recipe for disaster and illegality,” he said.

“This is not an isolated incident.

“It is the latest is an increasing list of cases where unscrupulous employers are exploiting overseas workers.

“It’s time for an immediate review of all 457 visa employment contracts from companies given self-regulation powers to see just how rotten this system is.”

Mr Mier said the union would be referring the case to the current Senate Inquiry into temporary overseas works visas.

A Thiess spokeswoman said they would not comment on the allegations made by the union.

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