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Union Welcomes Government Move on Minimum Wage

11 October 2006

Fish Processing Union Welcomes Government Move on Minimum Wage Rates

The Union that represents the vast majority of workers in the fish processing industry has welcomed the Government's decision to set minimum standards for foreign workers employed on joint venture vessels.

Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota National Secretary John Ryall said the new minimum wage of $483 per week (from 1 January 2007) is a gutsy decision given the pressure put up by the fishing industry to discourage such a move.

"No industry should claim the right to be supported by government in building profit through exploitation of foreign workers" said John Ryall

"Some of the examples we have heard of workers having most of their wages gobbled up by demands from employers for payment of board, food and other basic personal living items while on board these ships are unacceptable."

"The new standards do not allow deductions from the minimum wage for these purposes."

"We have seen nothing to suggest that the setting of these minimum standards is going to drive the current operators out of the industry and we don't accept the argument that we should facilitate or encourage new operators coming into the industry on the basis that they can exploit foreign workers."

"We acknowledge some of the concerns that iwi fishing groups have raised over the impact of the setting of minimum standards in the industry however our union believes that these and other issues facing the fishing industry would be better resolved though dialogue between industry, union and government representatives," said John Ryall.

ENDS

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