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Govt must protect local workers from fishy schemes

18th June 2008

Govt must protect local workers from fishy schemes

The Green Party is horrified that two South Island seafood companies may be granted permits to bring in migrant labour just weeks after 323 jobs were axed from Sealord's Nelson mussel factory.

Green Party Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sue Bradford is calling on the Government to ensure the permits are not granted.

"It is unthinkable that the Immigration Service might allow Talley's and Aotearoa Seafood to import 100 workers from Asia and South America at the same time as over 300 other seafood processing workers are losing their jobs in the same district.

"I understand Talley's intends to pay its migrant workers the minimum wage of $12 an hour or just over. Workers at the Sealord's plant are paid a lot more for their skills and loyalty," Ms Bradford says.

"I fear that this is simply a tactic to force down wages and keep unionised workers out of certain workplaces.

"Labour must not allow its own immigration schemes to be used by employers for these purposes.

"The Green Party supports migrants being able to come to New Zealand to work when there are not other workers available and where the migrant workers' wages and conditions are not being used to undercut those of other employees doing similar work.

"However, this is a case of companies exploiting temporary foreign workers and using them as a blunt tool to lower the wages of seafood workers and their families."


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