Union protest backs sacked guest worker

March 8, 2008

SYDNEY — The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) organised a community rally outside the Sombreros Mexican restaurant in the beachside suburb of Cronulla on March 7. The rally was to protest the sacking of chef Basilo Reyes for taking time off to have a cancer removed.

"Along with his wife and son, [Reyes] is now destitute", CFMEU NSW secretary Andrew Ferguson told the protest. "They have been forced to move out of their rented apartment because he is unemployed and has $7000 in medical bills which his employer has failed to pay, despite being required to under migration law."

The union says Reyes, sponsored on a 457 temporary work visa by the restaurant in February 2007, was victimised by the restaurant after complaining about poor food hygiene, which led to action by local council authorities. Reyes is also fighting to recoup lost wages after being allegedly underpaid.

The CFMEU is "demanding action from the new federal government to put an end to this type of exploitation of vulnerable guest workers", Ferguson said. Emails demanding that Sombreros pay Reyes his entitlements can be sent to < sombreros@sombreros.com.au>, with a copy to the CFMEU atA HREF="mailto:<.

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