The Maritime Union of Australia has joined the chorus of unions welcoming the long overdue Senate Inquiry into temporary work visa schemes such as 457s.
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the Inquiry would undoubtedly uncover widespread rorting by companies trying to undercut acceptable pay, safety and conditions in an attempt boost profits.
“I’m all for a temporary migration program that genuinely fills a gap in skills, that properly engages in market testing,” Crumlin said.
“However what we’ve seen is hugely profitable companies operating in the offshore looking to import overseas workers when we have hundreds of ready to work seafarers sitting on the beach without income for months, sometimes years on end.
“That tells me that the system is broken and that all of this talk about a skills shortage, particularly in the maritime industry, is a myth.”
The MUA has worked closely with other offshore unions such as the CFMEU, AMWU and the AWU as well as the ACTU to push for an inquiry into the visa scheme.
Yesterday, CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said the current system was failing job seekers, particularly unemployed youth.
“There are 1.1 million temporary overseas work visa holders in Australia. In a period of high unemployment, it is time for a rethink of this system, particularly the impacts on young people,” O’Connor said.
“Most temporary work visa classes stop young Australians from being able to get a start and receive vital training, as employers hire foreign labour instead.
“With youth unemployment at crisis levels – for example one in five unemployed Australians are teenaged - this is simply unacceptable.”