Mark Solomons (Brisbane Times)
The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating claims migrant workers were exploited by a Brisbane business, including allegations they did domestic work on weekends for the company’s multimillionaire owner in return for hostel-like accommodation where some workers slept on the floor.
A group of Filipino welders were sponsored on 457 visas by Hitec Welding and say they were brought to Australia by the company in late 2013 and early 2014.
The men claim over six years Hitec owner Jozef Lewandowski expected them to work on weekends at properties in Brisbane’s south-east, including at his $3.3 million mansion in Chandler and a $2.4 million waterfront property in Cleveland.
They claim they tended his garden and washed his motor yacht “Escape Pod” and Lamborghini cars, in return for their accommodation and annual flights home.
In an audio recording made by one of those men, Phil Cabudlan, at the Hitec factory in June 2020, he can be heard asking Mr Lewandowski why he had not paid him and the other welders for their domestic work at Mr Lewandowski’s mansion.
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