Town's employers rip off immigrant workers

PUBLISHED: 05:24 12 October 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 24 May 2010

EASTERN Europeans are 'prime targets' for getting ripped off by employers in Weston. The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has had a significant increase in the number of immigrants coming to its Wadham Street branch needing help. CAB director Anne Richards sa

EASTERN Europeans are 'prime targets' for getting ripped off by employers in Weston.The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has had a significant increase in the number of immigrants coming to its Wadham Street branch needing help.CAB director Anne Richards said: "They often get poorly paid jobs with small employers who don't always understand employment law and they don't get treated well."A recent case involved a 31-year-old Eastern European woman from Weston who was sacked from her job at a factory for gross misconduct because she was chewing gum on the premises.She knew she wasn't supposed to, but other staff who had broken the same rule were given a warning.Her employers admitted she was being made an example of and after help from the CAB she made an application to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.The employer agreed to a settlement and reinstated her with no loss of earnings.The woman said: "My partner and I and our two small children live in rented accommodation. If I had lost my job we might have lost our home. I don't know what I would have done without the CAB, I had no idea I had these rights."Mrs Richards said: "There is underlying discrimination against people when English isn't their first language despite having the same rights as everyone else to live and work here. The language issue makes it more difficult for people to stand up and make an argument."The mother sacked for chewing gum despite others doing the same is a prime example of people trying to find a reason to get rid of someone. "We are definitely seeing an increase particularly in the number of Polish people and it is a problem because they might not know our laws or where to go to get help."We are happy to help employers as well because there are bad employers and then there are employers that are not aware of the law themselves.

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