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Christchurch chef awarded close to $175,000 in compensation

13 Nov

(Reprinted from the NZ Herald)

By Sophie Ryan @SophieRyan

A chef employed at a Christchurch Vietnamese restaurant has been awarded $174,356.65 after working for five years without being paid, in what the Employment Relations Authority calls one of an increasing number of cases of exploitation of migrant workers.

His brother has also been awarded $14,386.73 for not being paid either.Bao Ho Van Nguyen and Vu Ho Van Nguyen both worked in Hue Kim Thi Ta’s restaurant Little Saigon.

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Employers liquidating companies to avoid paying minimum entitlements

24 Jul

By Tali Williams, First Union Organiser

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

Across the union movement we have seen a number of documented cases now where companies are liquidating their business in order to avoid their legal obligations, in terms of paying the minimum entitlements to their workers.

The most recent example is the case of Momo Tea. Momo Tea workers raised a case related to unpaid wages and annual leave among other breaches to their minimum workers rights. The workers say they were bought into a meeting and told by their employer that because they had raised these breaches the company would be liquidated and they all had to clean up the restaurant and leave as they had lost their jobs. The following day, despite the liquidation, the restaurant carried on trading. The company had simply transferred workers from their other restaurants to cover the shifts.

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Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages

22 Jul

An Auckland hotel has been ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay nearly $80,000 in outstanding wages to two employees.

Filipino couple Abraham and Nancy Agustin were employed at Auckland Harbour Oaks, and alleged the hotel had underpaid them and withheld part of their salaries.

The employers maintained their payment regime is correct but failed to provide any wage and time records to the authority, as required by law.

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Cafe chef awarded $50,000 for unfair dismissal

21 Jul

A former chef at an Auckland cafe has been awarded more than $50,000 in unpaid wages and compensation for unjustified dismissal.

The Employment Relations Authority was told by Lin Zhang that she had been employed by Tan Pacific at its cafe business in Auckland after travelling to New Zealand on a student visa.

Tan Pacific failed to show up for any hearings or respond to allegations throughout the authority’s investigation.

Ms Zhang told the ERA as evidence that her student visa was set to expire when she saw a job for a full time chef at BB’s Cafe advertised.

Ms Zhang said during the course of the interview she told her employer William Tan her visa was about to expire.

She said Mr Tan told her he would offer her the job and help with her visa application if she paid him $23,000 as a bond, to ensure she would remain working for him for two years.

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Christchurch rebuild migrants face debts, cramped accommodation

16 Jul

By Michael Morrah

Reporter

Reprinted from TV3 News

In the third winter since the earthquakes, men and machines are still working across Christchurch.

As the demolition nears an end, attention is now turning to the rebuild. Thousands of workers will be needed to rejuvenate a bleak landscape.

And to get numbers, the Government has fast-tracked visa applications to get more people in from overseas.

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Most of the international workforce is coming from the Philippines, where the Trade Minister was just last month.

More than 700 workers came in last year and the Government is confident that is only going to increase.

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Migrant worker exploitation

20 Dec

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By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

In the course of this week, Unite Union has dealt with several cases of extreme exploitation of migrant workers.

It seems that some of the liquor shops around Auckland have been employing students from India and paying a pittance– four or five dollars an hour, well below the legal minimum of $13.75 an hour. The students were working well in excess of the legal 20 hours a week allowed under their student visas.

The students are trying to make ends meet. The employers, many of whom are of the same national background as the students they are hiring, are using all sorts of bullying and threats to keep the workers in line. Breaching their visas can be a reason for the students to be sent home, so it is difficult for them to use official channels to complain. Wage and time records are non-existent or falsified.

In one case, the employer had an ownership interest in a private training institution where their student employees were attending courses costing tens of thousands of dollars in fees.

A picket by Unite of one store in the franchised Super Liquor chain got a quick response from the national brand owner to fix the problem and pay what was owed. We shall see.

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Photo and Videos for Migrant Taxi Drivers Victory

13 Dec

Auckland Taxi Drivers Rise Up (establishing shot)

First Union solidarity- interview with Bill Bradford.

Unite Union solidarity- Joe Carolan praises new Migrant Workers

“We Need Justice!”

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