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Cheating employers should be ashamed

Cheating employers should be ashamed

Some unscrupulous business owners are trying to cheat employees out of their minimum wage rise by taking away other allowances, the Green Party says.

Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sue Bradford says she was appalled to hear of three lower North Island clothing manufacturers who had taken away employees' allowances to avoid increasing their wage bill when the minimum wage increased two weeks ago.

The Clothing, Laundry and Allied Workers' Union has stepped in on behalf of staff and in one case the company has backed down on its plans. Another of the companies has said it will consider the union's argument, but the third intends to go ahead.

"These employers should be ashamed by the shabby way that they have treated their loyal staff," Ms Bradford says.

"These employees are entitled to receive the $10.25 minimum wage and keep the service and skills allowances they already had.

"In the case of one of the companies individual workers were forced to sign an agreement agreeing to the employer's actions. At the other two companies the workers were expecting their wage rise, but when they opened their pay packets found these had been circumvented.

"What is even more disturbing are claims from two of the employers that the Department of Labour's Employment Relations Service had given the plan the green light.

"I believe this is illegal and any employers that buy into this kind of thing should be dealt with swiftly," Ms Bradford says.

"This kind of underhanded activity undermines our employment laws and efforts to improve conditions for low paid workers.

"I have written to Labour Minister Ruth Dyson outlining the cases following her response, that she too believed employers were not able to do this, when I questioned her about it in the House this week.

ENDS

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