Five Filipino workers holding 457 visas, who were employed at a Fletcher International abattoir near Albany, were made redundant and given 10 weeks' entitlement pay on June 2.
Joel Espetaro, Zandro Sta Maria, Nolan De La Cruz, Gilbert Vidal and Rex Cortado were all active members of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU). The union believes that they have been targeted for raising health and safety grievances.
The immigration department has already sanctioned Fletchers International for breaches of its obligations as a sponsor of the 457 workers and has appealed to the Migration Review Tribunal.
The union has lodged a claim to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) for unfair and unlawful termination. The case will be heard on September 10.
Workers on 457 visas have no means of earning money, can access no unemployment or welfare benefits and cannot access Medicare benefits. The five Filipinos are currently unable to work elsewhere due to conditions imposed on them as part of their visas, however the union is trying to arrange alternative employment for them.
[To support the workers, donations can be mailed to the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union (WA Branch), PO Box 479 Belmont WA, 6984, or paid directly to AMIEU Federal, BSB: 066005 Account: 10003358, with the note "Sacked 457 visa workers appeal".]