Funtea worker protest will call for conviction of Gavin Guo
Workers and supporters will protest outside of the Adelaide Magistrates Court this Wednesday as Gavin Guo receives sentencing for the Funtea assault, an incident which saw widespread outrage online this year.
Dozens of people will gather outside the Adelaide Magistrates Court to confront Gavin Guo as he enters for sentencing. Speeches will be made by grassroots Chinese worker groups and Dale Beasley, Secretary of SA Unions.
Wednesday 11th August.
Rally and press conference at 1.30pm.
Hearing listed for 2.15pm.
Front of Magistrates Court - footpath area, 260 Victoria Square.
The protest is organised by SA Unions and SA Labour Info Hub, an online community of nearly 400 Chinese workers. The organisers say that the Funtea incident is part of a larger issue of worker exploitation in South Australia, where workers across all sectors face wage theft and violence at work.
The FunTea assault incident occurred on 29 January 2021. A video of a young woman being violently assaulted at a bubble tea shop soon went viral. In the beginning of the video, the female employee is arguing with another man about her wage, soon the accused stepped in and slapped the woman in the face before kicking her to the ground. Later in an interview, the owner of the shop admitted to paying his workers $10 an hour, which spurred heated discussion about wage theft.
Gavin Guo has been charged with basic assault and has admitted to slapping the female worker at Funtea. Workers are calling for a conviction to be recorded against him in recognition of this outrageous public assault. If a conviction is not recorded against Gavin’s Gao name, there will be no formal record of him assaulting a woman in her workplace.
Dale Beasley, Secretary of SA Unions said: “These women came to work simply to do their jobs, what they faced on that day was indefensible. The disturbing and sickening attack on these workers was shocking. But it is sadly very common. Abusive behaviour of this type has been on the rise for some time, and the stressors of the pandemic have only made it worse.
88% of workers in settings like these experienced verbal abuse from a member of the public last year and 15 per cent experienced physical violence. There can be no tolerance towards those who commit abuse and violence against workers.
All workers must be supported with an inalienable right to be safe while on the job. Government’s and our justice system must answer the challenge. They must ensure that right is upheld and that strong legal action is taken against anyone who harms workers.”
Abbey Kendall, Director of the Working Women’s Centre SA said: “This is an issue of gendered violence. All workers should expect to come home from work safely. All workplaces should be free of violence. We need to be addressing the power imbalances that lead to violence, especially when the victim is young, female and an international student.”
Jacky Chen, SA Labour Info Hub founder said: “The fundamental issue behind the assaulting incident is the rampant wage theft and exploitation against migrant workers in Australia. Temporary visa holders are at the bottom of social hierarchy and are treated inhumanly at many workplaces, from regional farms to CBD restaurants, being paid only about 10 dollars an hour. We are calling on the government to criminalise wage theft in South Australia to protect the basic workers’ rights and safety of migrant workers”
For further media comments, please contact:
SA Labour Info Hub - Founder
SA Labour Info Hub - Volunteer
SA Unions - Secretary
0433 847 325