Pressure should be on Fishing Quota Holders, not workers
The Council of Trade Unions says that the Government should indicate to fishing quota holders in New Zealand that their quota will be withdrawn if they continue to contract the work to Foreign Chartered Vessels that treat workers in the appalling way we have seen from the testimonies of workers from the Shin Ji and Oyang 75.
Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, says that "while we welcome indications of an Inquiry into the work conditions of crew on Foreign Chartered Vessels, actions speak louder than words, and to deport these workers on the eve of the Inquiry is heartless and unfair."
"Instead the pressure should be put back on to quota holders."
"The work visas for these fishermen require that there be a legally responsible New Zealand party to their work agreement. We are calling on the Government to include quota holders among the people responsible for the wages and conditions of these workers, by making the holders of NZ fishing quota vicariously liable for crimes committed against employees on ships they contract to fish their quota, if they ought to have known abuse was likely to occur."
The foreign shipping crew who have been mistreated and are owed wages need support from the New Zealand Government, not deportation.
Peter Conway said that he understands the Labour Department is trying to reach an agreement with the 32 crew of Oyang 75, and that immediate deportation is therefore unlikely, but the threat remains and that is putting the crew in an extremely difficult situation.
"The NZ Government should advise the Korean shipping company and agents that guarantees must be given that the crew will not be harassed, punished, or have penalties invoked against them, on their return."
Peter Conway said that until these workers have been paid wages owed, guarantees of their well-being received from the Indonesian Government, shipping companies and agents, and have had an opportunity to participate in the forthcoming Inquiry, they should remain here with the full support of the New Zealand Government.