McDonald's imports staff
The Age (Melbourne)
August 4, 2006
McDONALD'S has imported temporary workers from overseas to fill vacancies in its remote Western Australian stores due to a labour shortage caused by the resources boom.
The fast-food chain recently hired a “highly skilled manager” from the Philippines to train staff at its Karratha restaurant, and has approval from the Immigration Department to fill seven other positions at the store from overseas.
It also has three workers from stores in Britain, the Middle East and India working in its Broome restaurant, and an Indian manager in Kalgoorlie.
A McDonald's spokeswoman said the restaurant was only importing highly skilled managers who were paid above the award rate.
The Filipino worker began at Karratha three weeks ago. “There's a massive shortage in the workforce in Karratha. Other businesses are suffering as well,” the spokeswoman said. “Our preference would be to employ locally, and for months we've been doing recruitment drives but we haven't had much luck.”
The resources boom has led to labour shortages across WA as workers take highly paid jobs with mining companies.
Shire of Roebourne deputy president Brad Snell said about 25 per cent of council jobs were unfilled, while banks, schools, the police and retail stores had difficulties finding workers.
But he encouraged McDonald's and other employers to help the indigenous population.
He said about 15 per cent of the Pilbara's population were indigenous, and about 40 per cent were unemployed.
“They need to put a bit of effort into training local people,” he said.
“There's a ready-made pool of people in this area who have a massive rate of unemployment.”
WA Small Business Minister Norm Marlborough said most youths in Karratha were not interested in part-time jobs as their parents, who were mostly on $100,000 mining salaries, gave them money.
Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers union national secretary Joe de Bruyn said the union had no problem with McDonald's importing workers so long as they were paid the required rate and Australians were not losing jobs.