Tag Archives: Migrant workers

Union News to 10/10/12

10 Oct



Demolition derby: National’s approach to solving unemployment by Sue Bradford http://pundit.co.nz/content/demolition-derby-nationals-approach-to-solving-unemployment

Teens hit back over proposed youth wage http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/7794054/Teens-hit-back-over-proposed-youth-wage

Youth wage seen as sending ‘a poor message’ http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbnat/1055361113-youth-wage-seen-as-sending–a-poor-message-

Call for same minimum wage for all workers http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/call-same-minimum-wage-all-workers-video-5124406

Dave Feickert: Dark day as coal mines shuttered http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10837523

Foot chopped off in accident at Port of Tauranga http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10839569

Indian workers keen to unite http://www.indianweekender.co.nz/Pages/ArticleDetails/7/3265/New-Zealand/Indian-workers-keen-to-unite

New Port union deal ‘inferior’ says MU http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/7775653/New-Port-union-deal-inferior-says-MU

Ports demo Teal Park Oct 5 http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151250774682889.519811.596362888&type=1

Govt’s ‘starting out’ wage rubbished http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7787031/Govts-starting-out-wage-rubbished

Lower wages no solution https://unitenews.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/lower-wages-no-solution/

So-called ‘free market’ thrives on the enslavement of others http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/227867/so-called-free-market-thrives-enslavement-others

Helen Kelly on the Health and Safety Taskforce

Union joins international campaign for decent work http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1210/S00086/union-joins-international-campaign-for-decent-work.htm

Govt needs to send clear message about migrant work abuse http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1210/S00121/govt-needs-to-send-clear-message-about-migrant-work-abuse.htm

Key’s Film Jobs Being Filled by Migrants http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1210/S00081/keys-film-jobs-being-filled-by-migrants.htm

Maritime Union laughs off rival in Auckland port dispute http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10838820

The Union Report with Syd Keepa & Laila Harre: Issue 1: How significant a step between Maoridom and the Union movement was the Tauranga hui last month? Issue 2: Solid Energy jobs on the line – what should Government do to protect them? Issue 3: How does publishing National Standards on line help parents make decisions? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM1gX89KdIs&list=UU7Jit_xt-bd0g_Z8CIneUeg

NZ probe into child labour claims http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10838723

Korean fishing firm gags crew with ‘peace’ contract http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7779794/Korean-fishing-firm-gags-crew-with-peace-contract

Tiwai workers want Govt intervention http://www.3news.co.nz/Tiwai-workers-want-Govt-intervention/tabid/421/articleID/271703/Default.aspx

Crew who fled fishing boat seek $917,000 http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/7754330/Crew-who-fled-fishing-boat-seek-917-000


Bryce Edwards: Political round-up: The politicisation of poverty http://www.nzherald.co.nz/best-of-political-analysis/news/article.cfm?c_id=1502734&objectid=10839172

Solutions sought to poverty http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/7777248/Solutions-sought-to-poverty

Protester’s plea to minister http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10839487

Hunger striker fights for kids http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/northern-news/7788321/Hunger-striker-fights-for-kids

Harawira praises hunger striker http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10837346

Sam Kuha facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sam-Kuha-Campaign/466039110107129

Over 57,000 benefits sanctioned http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/15079608/over-57-000-benefits-sanctioned/

Nation-wide protests oppose welfare reforms http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/nation-wide-protests-oppose-welfare-reforms-5116865

Matt McCarten: No need to starve yourself, just give poor some more http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10838827

Child Poverty Special report: Searching for a way out http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10838726

Six of the best ideas for change http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10838701

Jonathan Boston: Three myths about child poverty http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10839028

National Day of Action against Welfare Reforms – Mana Party http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1210/S00107/national-day-of-action-against-welfare-reforms-mana-party.htm

Battle against beneficiary bashing http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7759711/Battle-against-beneficiary-bashing

The latest issue of the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services’ newsletter Kete Kupu is now online. Kete Kupu includes information and commentary on a wide range of social service issues and provides updates and commentary on social service policy and practice. Some of the higlights of this September 2012 issue include: Help the Children’s Commissioner do well for our kids; Liability or Citizen? Welfare Reform; Income Inequality Reaches News Heights; Taking Action on Reducing Inequality; Poor Quality Housing is making our children & older people sick; Watch Out For Burnout; Quality of Care in Rest Homes http://www.nzccss.org.nz/uploads/publications/KeteKupu%2024%20%28web%29.pdf

Govt signals it will feed hungry kids http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10838730

Homeless problem demands attention http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7779779/Homeless-problem-demands-attention

Business eye on poverty report http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10838658

1400 Kiwis try poverty for a week http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10837292


EPMU call urgent meeting to tackle job crisis http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10839181

Kim Hill interviews journalist Max Rashbrooke on his upcoming book about the increasing divide between rich and poor in New Zealand – listen to: Max Rashbrooke – social inequality and boarding houses. http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/sat/sat-20121006-0940-max_rashbrooke_-_social_inequality_and_boarding_houses-048.mp3

Income survey shows stagnant incomes for most New Zealand families http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1210/S00052/income-survey-shows-stagnant-incomes-for-most-nz-families.htm

Jane Kelsey: Hollywood lays down its own law http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10839218

CTU: New ideas to manage the exchange rate welcomed http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1210/S00077/new-ideas-to-manage-the-exchange-rate-welcomed.htm

TPPWatch Action Bulletin #18 – 29 September 2012 http://www.nznotforsale.org/2012/10/01/tppwatch-action-bulletin-18-29-september-2012/

Aus banks making more money from Kiwis – Greens http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/7773762/Aus-banks-making-more-money-from-Kiwis-Greens

So-called ‘free market’ thrives on the enslavement of others http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/227867/so-called-free-market-thrives-enslavement-others

The case for Financial Transaction Taxes in NZ: A FACT SHEET http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/3084113/the-case-for-financial-transaction-taxes-in-nz-pdf-august-18-2011-5-28-pm-454k?da=y

Migrant Workers – their problems are every worker’s problems

5 Oct

A few members have commented that we have put too much emphasis on protecting the rights of migrant workers when “NZ workers” are also being exploited.  It is absolutely true that anyone who works for an employer is exploited in some way. The most fundamental way that happens is that the employer pays less for the labour power they employ than they get for the products of that labour. All of an employer’s profit in the last analysis comes from the labour of workers.

However some groups of workers are able to be super-exploited for one reason or another – usually because they are in a weaker bargaining situation with their employer. Traditionally this has been true for women and young people. In the first half of last century Maori workers could be paid less. Until the 1970s in New Zealand many contracts (including collective agreements) had a lower rate of pay for women. Women weren’t considered the real breadwinner. They were only working for “pin money” and so could be paid less. This was also true for young workers until last decade when youth rates were finally abolished in most industries. Continue reading

Indian Workers to meet Sunday October 28

24 Sep

Unite Union and the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Charitable Trust have called a meeting on Sunday October 28 to discuss the formation of an Indian Workers Association in New Zealand.

In recent months there has been a lot of discussion about how migrant workers have been taken advantage of by employers in this country. Some of the employers are multi-national companies while others may be small businesses within different ethnic communities.

Often the voice that has been missing in the discussions is that of the migrant workers themselves.

That is why we think it is time for Indian workers in New Zealand to form a group that can speak for themselves. This is an organisation that can understand the different problems that migrant workers face, whether they have PR or not, whether they have a work visa or not, whether they are on a student visa or job search visa.

Unite Union already has many Indian workers as members and delegates in the fast food industry and has offered to assist in organising and assisting other Indian migrant workers in dealing with their problems. this will include education and training in employment rights and advocacy.

All Indian workers and supporters of migrant workers rights are welcome to come along at 2pm, Sunday, October 28, at the Western Springs Garden Community Hall, Western Springs, Auckland.

Mukhtiar Singh,
President, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Charitable Trust (Auckland)
Ph 021 827 550

Mike Treen
National Director, Unite Union
09 215 3392
029 5254744

The Union Report with EPMUs Rachel Mackintosh and Unites Matt McCarten (10/9/12)

11 Sep

Issue 1: From Tiwai Point to Spring Creek mines – how many more redundancies can communities take?

Issue 2: What does the BurgerKing dispute tell us about the real state of workers rights in NZ?

Issue 3: How do we tackle the overvalued NZ dollar that is hurting so many manufacturers and exporters?

The Union Report with CTU’s Helen Kelly and First Union’s Robert Reid (27/8/12)

5 Sep

Issue 1: NZ inequality now at it’s highest level ever – has egalitarianism become a myth? Issue 2: Migrant workers are being exploited – can Unions offer the solutions? and issue 3: Should Unions bow to Government demands for a witch hunt in MFAT?


The Union Report with CTU’s Dr Bill Rosenberg and NZEI’s Vice-President Frances Guy (20/8/12) + Other union news

21 Aug

Issue 1: Unemployment has risen to 6.8% – what should the Government be doing to get NZ back to work and what damage is occurring in our migrant work force?

Issue 2: If Charter Schools are the answer, what on earth is the question?

and Issue 3: A new study shows NZ nurses are battling ‘moral distress’, what are public servants supposed to do when they see the system failing?


New union offers advice for migrant workers http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/new-union-offers-advice-migrant-workers-5033503

Parliament’s cleaners seek pay rise – Cleaners want $15 an hour, and respect http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/7486277/Parliaments-cleaners-seek-pay-rise

Worker wants port’s apology for leaking details of wife’s death http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10823398

Cecil Walker, seen on the picket during the port strike, says he feels betrayed when he goes in to work now. Photo

Christchurch Rail Workers Revolt Against Cost Cutting Plan http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1208/S00233/christchurch-rail-workers-revolt-against-cost-cutting-plan.htm

KiwiRail workers discuss possible strike http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10827421

Labour: Urgent investigation needed into migrant exploitation http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1208/S00214/urgent-investigation-needed-into-migrant-exploitation.htm

Protest outside BK over exploitation of migrant labour

Minister promises action on underpaid migrants http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10827500

Port transparency overdue http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1208/S00240/port-transparency-overdue.htm

Maritime Union Backs New Ports Bill http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1208/S00258/maritime-union-backs-new-ports-bill.htm

Fishing: Immigration approves 1744 foreign workers http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/7478452/Immigration-approves-1744-foreign-workers


Unemployment – the stat that sinks govts http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10826097

Stats show shocking truth of growing inequality in NZ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1208/S00303/stats-show-shocking-truth-of-growing-inequality-in-nz.htm

Overseas Investment Office Says Rupert Murdoch Is Of Good Character – Because He Told Them So! http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1208/S00261/oia-says-murdoch-of-good-character-because-he-told-them-so.htm

TPPWatch Action Bulletin #15 – 15 August 2012 http://tppwatch.org/2012/08/15/tppwatch-action-bulletin-15-15-august-2012/

CTU: Record Outflow to Australia http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1208/S00310/record-outflow-to-australia.htm

Smoke and Mirrors: The strange tale of Fletcher Building’s ‘1000 new jobs’ for Christchurch. http://nzagainstthecurrent.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/smoke-and-mirrors.html

Burger King accused of exploiting Indian and other migrant workers

16 Aug

Unite Union has received many complaints from BK workers who were originally from India about the discrimination and exploitation they face.

Many staff are given work permits as students or for a year or two to allow them to seek permanent work. But to get an offer of permanent residence they need to be offered a managers job. This results in many of the migrant workers agreeing to do anything and everything demanded by the BK bosses in the hopes that they get the prized management training offer.

These workers are also too scared to join the union as they know BK management take a dim view of union membership and tell potential managers they have to leave if they want promotion.

Indian workers would often get stuck with the unpopular graveyard shifts. We had one worker who worked for several years on graveyards and even did double management shifts of 16 hours at two different stores. When he complained about his training not being completed his training as a manager was stopped and he wasn’t able to renew his visa.

The Indian workers proved so successful for BK that a majority of the company’s employees are now of Indian origin. But that has created resentments inside some stores and inside some communities where BK operates but doesn’t seem to employ people from the communities they operate in. Some managers even use their influence to hire staff from their own region in India so they can better keep them dependent and under control. This is not the fault of the workers who have been hired but the resultant abuse of their rights is being ignored by the company.

Now the union has been told that managers have been ordered not to promote any more Indian managers – even those with PR (permanent residence). Whatever reason has prompted this decision by BK it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of national origin against workers who have PR. If you suspect this has happened please contact the union.

This year’s collective agreement signed by Unite with the company includes some further improvements but if we are going to close the gap with companies like Restaurant Brands we need to have a bigger union membership at BK.

Unite Union has had to step in on several occasions to try to stop workers being forced to leave New Zealand as a consequence of actions by BK. One particularly bad example involved a manager from the Philippines.

BK went to the Philippines and worked with immigration consultants to hire Fast Food managers to work in New Zealand. The workers had to pay the consultants (who were in the room with the BK reps when the workers were interviewed in the Philippines) thousands of dollars. The worker Unite ended up helping had also borrowed money from his parents and from a bank to come to New Zealand and work, placing the entire family under financial stress. Burger King also advanced funds to pay these costs as well which were being deducted from his salary over the term of his contract in New Zealand.

The terms of his visa were only to work in a specific region with a two year contract but after his training was completed he was only offered work in the region he was trained in – violating his work visa. When Immigration became aware of this they cancelled his visa and Burger King terminated his employment. The company then deducted the remaining salary advance from his final pay, leaving him almost penniless, with no job, no rights to income support and facing deportation back to the Philippines where he would still have the burden of a massive unpaid debt created by BK lies.

The worker was extremely stressed and too ashamed to even tell his family back in the Philippines what was happening. He was relying on charity and some friends for food and shelter. Having recruited him and introduced him to an immigration consultant which resulted in him being loaded with debt, including with Burger King itself, the company then forced him to violate his visa terms.

When immigration authorities found out BK just dropped him, grabbed back the money they had lent him and left him alone, destitute and facing deportation.
Despite not being a union member at the time the worker was assisted by Unite and a settlement was reached. The worker’s visa was eventually reinstated and he was able to return to work in accordance with the original visa conditions.

The whole situation reeked of ‘indentured labour’ where workers are given jobs but loaded up with so much debt and other obligations that they are totally dependent on the employer. The result is a fearful and subservient workforce that can just be discarded when they become inconvenient or troublesome to the company. That is, of course, the main motivation for actively importing workers.

The idea that we can’t train New Zealanders to be assistant managers in burger stores and have to import them from overseas is also preposterous.

See also: Fast food giant faces union action

Employee of six years Lalit Sood claimed he and other staff faced pressure from management to leave the union and he was forced to “work like a slave”.

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