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Fishing inquiry should not put needs of abused crew on hold

Labour Issues Spokesperson

23 August 2011

Fishing inquiry should not put needs of abused crew on hold

The terms of reference for the Government’s inquiry into foreign fishing vessels announced today, while welcome, must not put the needs of the Oyang 75 crew and Shin Ji on hold, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues.

“Those Indonesian seamen still in the country have been forced to flee threats of violence and intimidation at the hands of their employers while at the same time fighting deportation liability notices. It is essential their evidence and insights are sought and contribute to the inquiry,” Darien Fenton said.

“The Government must act to ensure the crews of the Oyang 75 and Shin Ji are taken care of and they are not unceremoniously shunted out of the country before they have been paid their entitlements under New Zealand law.

“While credit for the inquiry can largely be attributed to pressure applied on the Government by the community, labour rights activists and unions many outstanding issues remain.

“We still face a muddied picture of labour rights, and an inquiry which may not deal with the ramifications for the industry, including an extensive investigation into New Zealand job losses and strategies for restoring jobs to the industry as well as whether action will be taken against New Zealand companies who were involved in joint ventures with these ships.

“The Government must actively involve the representatives of the 2000 land-based fish industry workers, the Service & Food Workers Union, and work to find a long-term solution that will restore decent jobs in the industry, and also our reputation as a nation that believes in treating workers fairly.

“Labour will follow the inquiry closely,” Darien Fenton said.


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