Precarious, Low Paid, Insecure Work Impacts On Health Of Migrant & Refugee Women

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6th October 2010, 11:34am - Views: 805

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Media Release

Wednesday 6th October, 2010

Precarious, low paid and insecure work impacts on the health of migrant and refugee


Following today’s release of the report Heartbreak Hotel into the exploitative treatment of hotel

workers, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) said that this is one example of a

widespread problem that spans a range of low-skilled occupations and contract positions in which

immigrant and refugee women workers are concentrated.

Director of MCWH Dr Adele Murdolo, said that immigrant and refugee women workers were more

vulnerable in the low-skilled and semi-skilled work, and contract positions that limit their decision-

making power and all too often impact negatively on their health.

“We need to increase awareness that exploitation of migrant and refugee workers impinges on

their health and safety.

“Immigrant women workers are often missing out on vital Occupational Health and Safety

information due to language barriers and misinformation,” she said.

“Through our workplace visiting programs we have found that often the OH&S training provided

by employers is inadequate or inaccessible for employees from Non-English Speaking backgrounds. 

“MCWH provides workplace health promotion programs in 20 languages to ensure that these

women are receiving education and information in their own language so that they understand

and gain the skills to prevent workplace accidents and injuries in the first place.

“Some of the testimonials from the women indicate that they do not always comprehend the

training that is given to them,” said Dr Murdolo.

“There should be proper monitoring and standardisation, along with education and information

for immigrant women workers, to ensure that workplace safety extends to all.” Dr Murdolo said.

Three women’s testimonials employed by a seafood retail outlet:

“The shop provides us with a trolley for each woman, but I don’t use it all the time. Now I am going to use

that trolley to carry goods because it will prevent me from injuring my back and joints.

Vietnamese working woman

“I will change the way of using my hands so that I don’t use one part of my body too long, to prevent

overuse syndrome.

Vietnamese working woman


“Today I learnt about how to have a work layout to work comfortably so that I don’t have to twist my body

often, or reach too high while I am working.

Vietnamese working woman

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact

MCWH spokesperson Dr Adele Murdolo: 0438 823 299 or Anaya Latter, Media: 0432 121 636

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