Sparks fly as locals sacked but foreign welders kept on

Andrew Burrell & Nicolas Perpitch; 6/3/10

Jim Fynes bears no malice towards the Filipino migrant workers who kept their jobs on a Chinese-owned mining project in the Pilbara even as he and 53 other Australians were retrenched. But Mr Fynes would like a clearer explanation from the Rudd government and his employer, Ottoway Engineering, about why he was retrenched ahead of foreigners at the $5.2 billion Sino Iron project. The sackings appear to confirm that Australian employers are not legally required to favour Australian workers over migrants, either when retrenching or hiring staff. “It doesn’t seem right to me,” Mr Fynes said yesterday.