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Dublin: 6°C Saturday 28 November 2020

Chef who was paid just 51c an hour will finally get the wages he was owed

Muhammad Younis was forced to work up to 80 hours a week in a Clondalkin restaurant.

Muhammad Younis celebrates today's verdict
Muhammad Younis celebrates today's verdict
Image: Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

A MAN WHO was owed over €92,500 in unpaid wages has won a Supreme Court judgement overturning an earlier ruling that he was not entitled to compensation as an undocumented worker.

The unanimous ruling upheld a 2011 Rights Commissioner decision – endorsed by the Labour Court – to award him full compensation for owed wages.

The judgement overrules a 2012 High Court ruling that he was not entitled to the award because he did not have a valid contract as an undocumented worker.

Threats, forced overtime

Former chef Muhammad Younis, who is originally from Pakistan, worked as a chef at the Poppadom restaurant in Clondalkin from 2002 to 2009.

He was subjected to frequent threats and forced to work up to 80 hours a week without a contract.

The restaurant’s owner, Amjad Hussein, confiscated his passport and paid him just 51c an hour during the first three years of his employment.

Younis celebrated the verdict this afternoon with representatives of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), which supported him in leaving the restaurant.

“I am very happy and I want to thank all my supporters,” he said. “After six years, I’ve finally got justice.”

Gráinne O’Toole, MRCI spokesperson, said the High Court judgment that had overruled his award “essentially gave unscrupulous employers a license to exploit undocumented workers with impunity.”

“For Mohammed, and for all other workers, we are relieved that the Supreme Court has disagreed with that decision,” she said.

Read: Why isn’t modern day slavery criminalised in Ireland? >

Read: Disgraced UAE ambassador hit his underpaid staff and called them ‘scavengers’ >

About the author:

Catherine Healy

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