Killed Canadian backpacker ripped off even in death
A 22-year-old Canadian backpacker killed on a demolition job in Sydney has not only lost his life, but also a financial payout to his family thanks to the dodgy arrangements under which he was employed.
Mathieu Linares Lopez was killed on April 13 when he was hit by a steel beam that fell during demolition of a building in Australia Street, Camperdown.
Mathieu had been working on the site, with a friend, for two weeks when the accident happened. The CFMEU is aware that Mathieu and his friend had raised concerns about safety, but were told to continue working at the site.
A CFMEU investigation has shown Mathieu and other workers were not paid any superannuation, were not registered for long service leave and were not provided with payslips.
“While this tragic death is still being investigated, it is clear that safety on the site was not up to scratch,” says CFMEU NSW Secretary Brian Parker.
“Now we have discovered that the company was ripping off workers by failing to pay them their legal entitlements. As a result Mathieu’s family will not receive the death benefit that should have been paid out as part of his superannuation entitlement.
“The CFMEU is demanding developer Ceerose and labour hire company One Stop Work Force come good and pay out the money Mathieu’s parents should have received. These companies have sought to make profit by ripping off young travellers who have no idea what they are entitled to. It is unconscionable and these companies have a moral obligation to ensure that in death they do not rip Mathieu off further.”
Mr Parker says Mathieu’s case is the most tragic example of how developers and builders are ripping off young backpackers.
“Like 457 visa holders, young people on working holidays often just cop what the boss tells them because they are worried about losing their job.”
He said Liberal governments and politicians continually attack the CFMEU through policies that make it harder for union Organisers to enter work sites to enforce safety standards and ensure workers are being paid properly.
“Instead of trying to shut the CFMEU down, the Government should cop on and realise it is our organisers and delegates that are saving lives on job sites,” Mr Parker says.
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