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Pakistani student alleges Australian companies of slave-like treatment


Melbourne : A Pakistani student who was paid just a mere over One Australian dollar an hour for over 150 hours work as a security guard at the Australian Open tennis is reportedly suing several companies for being treated like a “slave”.

23-year-old Faisal Durrani said he was aware of at least another four security guards from the subcontinent who had only received a small payment for their work at the Open.

“I believe there are a lot more,” he said.

It is the latest alleged incident to involve the mistreatment of workers from the subcontinent after the mass taxi driver protest in early May over unsafe work conditions.

Durrani’s statement of claim, lodged at the Melbourne Magistrates Court, alleges that he was paid 200 Australian dollars for the 158 hours he had worked at the Australian Open.

“To me it was an act of slavery, we have been treated like slaves,” he was quoted saying in ‘The Age’ today. His solicitor, Andrew Weinmann of Maurice Blackburn, described the case as “outrageous” for a number of reasons.

“First, we often see cases where a worker is not paid correctly. It’s not so common to see a worker barely paid at all,” he said, adding “Second, our client is a vulnerable worker – a visitor to Australia trying to scrape together an income while he completes his studies.” Durrani is seeking about USD 4000 in wages he is said to be owed and lawyers are also pursuing interest, costs and penalties through the Workplace Relations Act that could run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

However, the case is complex as it is bit difficult to determine who Durrani’s employer was.