KASAMA Vol. 21 No. 4 / October-November-December 2007 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Hospitalised guest worker faces deportation

A Filipino guest worker who contracted the potentially fatal melioidosis bacteria in Darwin believes he's been unfairly sacked.

Your Rights at Work logo Rico Mavotas came to Australia on a 457 guest worker visa to start a dream job. But while he recovers in hospital, he's facing the prospect of deportation if he can't find another job.

He says he picked up the potentially fatal soil-borne disease on the job, but Work Safe has given the site a clean bill of health.

In his termination letter, the company says Mr Mavotas wasn't skilled to do the job.

The pump technician now fears he won't be able to get a new job and will be sent back to the Philippines.

The trouble started when Mr Mavotas got chicken pox and broke out in lesions.

Your Rights at Work logo The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has taken up his case, saying Mr Mavotas was working with dirt and mud and contracted melioidosis at work.

"We know it's prevalent in the Northern Territory, so seriously, no one with lesions should be working with that type of equipment," said the union's Jamey Robertson.

Mr Mavotas says he wasn't provided with gloves or warned there was a risk of contracting melioidosis.

— Source: ABC NEWS, November 30, 2007

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