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"Conditions Worse Than China" Says Clothing Union


"Conditions Worse Than China" Says Clothing Union Official

"Unpaid wages, poor working conditions, illegal contracts, no redundancy pay, are not words I am using to describe working conditions in China, but rather the situation at an apparel factory in Porirua," said Robert Reid, an organiser with the Clothing, Laundry and Allied Workers Union.

"The factory, Hills International, is well known for making berets for United Nations Peace - keepers," said Robert Reid. "We understand that the company still makes berets for the military in NZ and the Middle-east."

"Late last year it made the news when the union complained about the workers not having received wages for three weeks. Since that time the situation has deteriorated further."

"The company is consistently behind with worker's pay, recently made some workers redundant with no redundancy pay, keeps issuing individual contracts rather than negotiating with the union and provides poor working conditions. On top of this the phone at the factory has been cut off because of non-payment of phone bills and now the workers are worried that today they might be locked out by the landlord because the rent is three months behind," said Robert Reid.

"It is impossible to talk to the owner about these matters as he lives in Singapore and does not respond to faxes or emails. The manager left a few months ago in disgust, he said.

Robert Reid, who recently visited China on a Council of Trade Unions delegation said the situation was worse than anything he had seen on official or un-offical trips to China. "Before we throw any more stones at China we should clean up our own industry first," he said

"It is disgusting that the owner of this factory should be able to get away with this," Robert Reid said. "No-one in New Zealand will take responsibility for what is happening here."

The factory is located at 18 Wall Place, Linden (behind Dobbins Furniture).


Editors please note: Hills International has no connection to and should not be confused with with Hills Hats which operates in Petone and has a collective employment agreement with the union.

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