Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Ex-Kiwifruit Contractor To Pay $276,000 For Exploiting Migrant Workers

A former Bay of Plenty kiwifruit labour contractor and its former owner have been ordered to pay more than $250,000 by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), for exploiting six migrant workers.

Raj Kiwi has been penalised $160,000, with former shareholder and director Rajasekar Chellappa individually penalised an additional $70,000, for 49 employment minimum standards breaches. These included breaches of minimum wage, holiday pay, not keeping records and absent employment agreements.

Raj Kiwi has also been ordered to pay wage arrears to the six workers, totalling more than $26,000.

“This offending was blatant, and the Authority’s high penalties show it recognises the employer was at the worst end of migrant exploitation,” says Labour Inspectorate Horticulture sector lead, Kevin Finnegan.

“But it could have been even worse. The Inspectorate continues to encourage anyone who believes their employment rights are in breach to come forward, and that is what happened here – the complainants came forward to the MBIE help line.

“Kiwifruit body Zespri also acted quickly after receiving similar complaints, and following discussion with the Inspectorate, immediately suspended Raj Kiwi’s contractor certification. This allowed the Inspectorate to immediately and effectively investigate the breaches.

“It is actions like this from Zespri that automatically shows the sector and its supply chains that employers like Raj Kiwi are a red flag to anyone doing business with them, or buying their services. Any business continuing to do so also puts their own reputation at serious risk.”

A subsidiary of Mr Chellappa’s, Raj Infotech, was ordered to pay nearly $30,000 by the ERA in 2019 in wage arrears and penalties, after non-compliantly ending a migrant IT consultant’s job, before instead offering them a job picking kiwifruit.

Anyone concerned about the employment situation of themselves or someone they know is advised to call the MBIE contact centre on 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

CTU 2021 Work Life Survey: COVID And Bullying Hit Workplaces Hard, Huge Support For Increased Sick Leave

New data from the CTU’s annual work life survey shows a snapshot of working people’s experiences and outlook heading out of 2020 and into the new year. Concerningly 42% of respondents cite workplace bullying as an issue in their workplace - a number ... More>>

Smelter: Tiwai Deal Gives Time For Managed Transition

Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed to working on a managed transition with the local community,” Grant Robertson said. More>>

ALSO:

Economy: Strong Job Ad Performance In Quarter Four

SEEK Quarterly Employment Report data shows a positive q/q performance with a 19% national growth in jobs advertised during Q4 2020, which includes October, November and December. Comparing quarter 4, 2020, with the same quarter in 2019 shows that job ad volumes are 7% lower...More>>

NIWA: 2020 - NZ’s 7th-warmest Year On Record

The nationwide average temperature for 2020, calculated using stations in NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which began in 1909, was 13.24°C (0.63°C above the 1981–2010 annual average). New Zealand’s hottest year on record remains 2016, when... More>>

Quotable Value New Zealand: Property Market Set To Cool From Sizzling To Warm In 2021

Nostradamus himself could not have predicted the strange series of events that befell our world in 2020 – nor the wild trajectory of New Zealand’s property market, which has gone from “doom and gloom” to “boom and Zoom” in record time. Even ... More>>

PriceSpy: Research Reveals How Shopping Behaviours Have Changed This Christmas

According to a new survey* from PriceSpy , almost 50 per cent of Kiwis are looking to shop locally this Christmas in light of Covid-19; The research also found consumers are changing their shopping habits, with one in seven (14 per cent) getting super-organised ... More>>