Cries From The Workplace - Asian Women Workers In Sydney

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8th April 2008, 11:01am - Views: 1059

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Main Office: PO Box 253 Bankstown NSW 1885     Ph (02) 9793 9708     Fax (02) 9793 9106

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April 8, 2008

Media Release 

Cries from the Workplace

20 stories, 20 women

Stories of migrant women workers in Sydney

Launch by NSW Minister for Women

Ms Verity Firth MLA

Tuesday 8th April 2008, 12 noon to 1pm

Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament House

The booklet is important because Asian women are speaking for themselves about the daily reality

in their workplaces. This is not academic, not written in formal or professional language. The

women describe their experiences in their own words. Many of the stories were written first in

Chinese or Vietnamese and then translated.

These are short, stark descriptions of working, and how the women feel. For example, an extract

from Story 4 says, “My pay and conditions are very low. I only get $11 an hour even though I start

working at 3am in the morning… I wish we could receive lawful wages and conditions and the boss

could treat us with respect and dignity. We only get 30 minutes for lunch and no tea breaks and rest

breaks. We should have tea breaks and rest time. We are not machines. We can't work like robots.”

The women have decided to tell their stories and speak out because they say it is time for change.

“We want this country to do better when it comes to looking after people who are struggling at the

bottom end of society”, says Hong Nguyen from the Asian Women at Work Action Group. “We

want our stories to be part of the discussions and debates on a new industrial relations system in

Australia. We do not want to be forgotten. We didn’t believe such exploitation could happen in

Australia. We never expected this to be part of our new life here”, said Ms Nguyen. 

Production of the booklet has been funded by Revesby Workers Club, the Uniting Church 2% for

Development Fund and the SEARCH Foundation, through Asian Women at Work Inc. 

Amanda Jackson, from the Uniting Church 2% Fund says, “the stories in this booklet will make

readers feel uncomfortable because they show how many migrant women in our city are underpaid,

bullied and exploited. I hope the dignified voices of these women will be heard and their call for

equality and a fair go is answered.”

Action Group members are available for interviews. The booklet is available in English,

Chinese and Vietnamese. The Action Group members hope the booklet will encourage other

migrant women workers to speak up and tell their stories.

Media Contacts: Debbie Carstens 0409 841 208; Lina Cabaero 0407 841 010

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