Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Don’t scrap accommodation requirements for farm workers

Don’t scrap accommodation requirements for agricultural workers


Regulations setting minimum accommodation standards for agricultural workers should not be scrapped when the new Health and Safety at Work Act is in place says Multicultural New Zealand.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has proposed deleting the regulations in a discussion document on which it is seeking public submissions.

Under the present regulations employers must ensure that accommodation provided to agricultural employees is made of permanent materials, is maintained in good order and condition, and contains or has access to facilities for such things as cooking, drinking, washing and toileting.

In the discussion document MBIE proposes that there be no specific regulation relating to agricultural accommodation “as the proposed new Act requires a person conducting a business or undertaking to ensure that any accommodation provided to a worker as part of their job does not expose the worker to a risk to their health and safety”.

Multicultural New Zealand strongly urges that specific provisions relating to accommodation for agricultural workers be retained.

There has been a significant increase in the number of migrant workers in agriculture in recent years, particularly in dairying, and the isolation of such workers and their lack of knowledge of basic minimum protections in New Zealand make it all the more necessary to ensure that requirements on employers are specific and clear. A recent report by the Ministry’s labour inspectorate indicated a high level of non-compliance in this sector, with 31 of 44 farms being in breach of minimum employment standards. More enforcement is required rather than less regulation.

We note the comment made by the President of the NZ Council of Trade Unions, Helen Kelly, on 26 June 2014 to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee considering the Health and Safety at Work Bill: “We are very aware of the increasing use of migrant farm workers and how vulnerable they are to exploitation on short term work arrangements. Farm workers deserve some standards in accommodation provision.” (http://union.org.nz/news/2014/ctu-tells-select-committee-workplaces-must-be-made-safer).

We also note that the accommodation standards for RSE workers in horticulture and viticulture rely in part on the current regulations on accommodation of workers in agriculture.

In the interests of the health and safety of migrant workers these regulations should be retained following passage of the new Health and Safety at Work Bill.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Diver's Alarums: Breach Means Training Provider Must Repay $1.47 Million

The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies is to repay $1.47 million (GST-exclusive) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) following an investigation which showed that some student enrolments between 2009 -2014 could not be validated and that courses were under-delivered against their agreement with the TEC. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Plans Suggest Bulk Funding Return

Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Auckland Looks Long Term To Pay-Per-Km Road Pricing

Aucklanders can expect to be paying variable rates per kilometre to travel on the city's most congested roads under an emerging transport strategy being formulated by the government and the Auckland Council. More>>

ALSO:

Despite Promises: Government Extends Iraq Deployment

Cabinet has agreed to extend New Zealand’s contribution to the joint New Zealand-Australia mission to train Iraqi Security Forces until November 2018. More>>

ALSO:

On The 'Terrorism' Card:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news