Aussie gov’t orders payment of unpaid wages for 10 Pinoy seamen
Ten Filipino seafarers received over P3 million in unpaid wages from their employer after Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman had discovered that they had been underpaid under Australian labor laws.
According to a press release on the government office’s website, the rank-and-file Filipino workers were paid only 5 Australian dollars (P193) per hour, well below the minimum AUD17.29 (P667) rate per hour and AUD21.61 (P834) per overtime hour set under Australia’s Seagoing Industry Award 2010.
The underpayments occurred when the overseas Filipino workers balanced their shifts on the ports in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria from January to June 2016.
The 10 Filipinos received a total of AUD100,649 (P3.8 million) in unpaid wages. Likewise, the highest salary recovered for a Filipino seafarer was AUD16,677 (P642,870).
“Our online tools and resources can assist employers to determine their applicable Award, as well as classification and pay rates, allowances, overtime and penalty rates,” Ombudsman Natalie James said.
On the other hand, the vessel’s operator, an international company based outside Australia, told authorities that they were unaware of Australian labor laws because they had not operated near the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone, the report said. Because of this, the Filipinos were paid salaries in accordance with international minimum wage standards.
A letter was sent to the company, giving out a warning that it can face legal sanctions if they break Australian labor laws in the future. Gianna Francesca Catolico /ra
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.