The Services Union has alleged that Indian workers at the Brisbane City Council are made to accept low pay and work long hours using threats of deportation.
An Indian multinational technology company has been accused of exploiting IT workers, including underpayment of wages, in the Brisbane City Council, prompting the Lord Mayor to seek an urgent meeting with the company.
The Council outsourced IT work to HCL Technologies in 2013, eliminating 55 jobs, in order to save $8 million over a period of five years.
However, Secretary of the Services Union Queensland, Neil Henderson has now claimed the Indian workers brought by HCL on “special visas” work “extraordinary hours”, up to 60 hours a week with no weekend or public holiday or penalty rates, and thousands of additional unpaid hours.
“These employees have been threatened to be deported and replaced by other Indian workers keen enough to get to Australia to accept the low pay and long hours,” Mr Henderson alleged.
“Material I have examined makes it extremely clear that HCL has always known exactly what was going on and took the view that Indian employees would put up with these conditions in order to get to Australia,” he said.
Mr Henderson said the company prefers to employ Indian workers over Australian workers “because Indian nationals will work the longer hours at lower pay levels”.
He said the work in a particular area previously done by 14 workers was now being done by five HCL workers.
A company spokesperson told SBS Punjabi that it is in touch with the union.
“HCL follows high standards of internal governance. We are in receipt of the union letter and we are in touch with union and employees to understand and resolve the issue as a priority,” the spokesperson said.
“HCL is committed to a fair and transparent workplace compliant with the laws of the land.”
The Courier Mail reports that the opposition leader Peter Cumming called on Lord Mayor Graham Quirk to launch an investigation.
Asking Mr Henderson to produce evidence of his allegations, Councilor Quirk has reportedly said he would seek an urgent meeting with the company.