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Fisheries workers had enough of floating on minimum wage

Workers at Moana New Zealand have until now, watched in frustration as the parent company they work for brings in millions while they try to live off wages that barely float above the minimum.

Staff at the Ruakaka site will be walking off the job Friday morning (April 26th) until Monday morning. Workers are taking the strike action for the Living Wage to secure wages they can live on and to be able to better support their families.

Bargaining initiated in January this year with the company and workers agreeing on conditions but when it came to pay, it wasn’t a negotiation.

FIRST Union Organiser Emir Hodzic says the company claims it cannot afford to pay workers a Living Wage.

“Moana New Zealand has reported a net profit after tax of $21.4 million for the year ending 30th September 2018. This is up on the previous year’s profit of $19.3 million. It also declared a dividend of $8.6 million of which over 50 iwi shareholders will receive. The company came to the table with only one offer of wages, stating that further increases would result in redundancies; that’s not a negotiation. The offer would be just 3% above current minimum wage. Just floating above the minimum wage is not how you care for and value your workers.”

Mr Hodzic says workers have every right to ask for the Living Wage.

“The Living Wage would go some way to recognising the skill involved and very importantly, it would provide wages that can better support families in this region. They harvest some of New Zealand’s most prized kaimoana and they’re not paid decent wages, it’s not acceptable.”

From one worker, Erica Poa, on what the minimum wage would mean to staff, “In this region, there aren’t many jobs, it would mean a lot to us workers at Moana who are struggling to support our families”.

Financials of Moana Fisheries:

Moana New Zealand has also declared a dividend of $8.6 million, in accordance with the Company’s dividend policy and as set out in the Maori Fisheries Act. Its 58 Iwi shareholders will receive their respective share of the dividend.

Aotearoa Fisheries (trading as Moana NZ) also owns 50% of SeaLord

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