Pakistani student sues over ’slavery’ wages at Australian Open 2008

July 7th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, July 7 (ANI): A Pakistani student, who was paid just 1.26 dollars an hour for more than 150 hours work as a security guard at the Australian Open tennis in January this year, is suing several companies for being treated like a “slave”.

Twenty-three-year-old Faisal Durrani,said he was aware of at least four more security guards from the subcontinent who had only received a small payment for their work at the Open, and added that there could be more.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Durrani’s claim, lodged at the Melbourne Magistrates Court, alleges that he was paid 200 dollars for the 158 hours that he had worked at the Australian Open.

“To me it was an act of slavery, we have been treated like slaves,” the paper quoted him, as saying.

His solicitor, Andrew Weinmann of Maurice Blackburn, described the case as “outrageous” for a number of reasons, including not being paid correctly, or not at all.

Durrani is seeking about 4000 Australian dollars in wages, which he believes is owed to him. His lawyers are also pursuing interest, costs and penalties through the Workplace Relations Act that could run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

The case has its share of complications, as the court has to still determine who Durrani’s employer was.

The first defendant named in the claim is Unified Security NSW, while the second is Unified’s director Geoff Chain.

Chain, who could not be reached for comment, is alleged to have threatened to “kick the arse” of Durrani in March if he continued to seek payment of wages owed to him.

Also named in the writ is a subcontractor to Unified, George Guirguis.

Guirguis told The Age that it was not his fault as he was not paid by Chain for the work he did.

The other defendant named is the head security contractor to the Australian Open, Australian Security Services, and its director Harry Thompson. (ANI)

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