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Disappointment as Labour Hire Bill reported back

Sent on behalf of the New Zealand Meat Workers and Related Trades Union

Disappointment as Labour Hire Bill reported back

Meat Workers Union media release - 6 March 2019

The original author of the Employment Relations Triangular Amendment Bill says she is disappointed in the watered-down version of the Bill that is due for second reading today.

“I authored this bill back when I was an MP and it was picked up by Labour MP Keiran McAnulty. The issues around Labour Hire that gave rise to the Bill then are even more important today” says Darien Fenton, former Labour MP and now Organising Director for the Meat Workers Union says.

“In just the last week, I have been involved in issues with Labour Hire workers in the Meat Industry, where there are clear examples of exploitation in the use of these workers to undercut unionised workers on collective agreements.”

“What’s worse is there is a growing use by Labour Hire Companies to 'rent' migrant workers to established companies while holding power over these workers because they are on one-year fixed term visas. These migrant workers are told they cannot join the union because of their visa status.

“Meanwhile, they go to work day in and day out and do the same work as unionised workers but for minimum wage.

“The removal in the Bill of the requirement for Labour Hire workers to be paid the same as those employed on collective agreements where they work ignores the critical problem New Zealand workers are facing with increasing forms of casualisation.

“I am pleased that at least one part of the Bill survives, which is the ability of workers to join both the Labour Hire company and the company they actually work to personal grievance actions. This will have an impact.

“However I am very surprised that New Zealand First in particular would support changes that allow the continued exploitation of migrant labour to undermine the terms and conditions of people working in New Zealand.

“This law represented an opportunity for the Government to put the welfare of migrant workers and the terms and conditions of Kiwi workers ahead of the interests of mostly offshore-owned Labour Hire companies. It’s a real shame that opportunity hasn’t been taken.”


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