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NZCTU Calls For Immediate Action On RSE Scheme


The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has met with the Minister of Immigration to convey deep concerns with the existing RSE scheme.

NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff said migrant wellbeing must be at the centre of all discussions on the issue.

“As unions we cannot stand by while there are reports of RSE workers in NZ facing exploitation and unacceptable working and living conditions”

“These workers are vulnerable and need stronger protection and advocacy, so they don’t become victims of rip-off employers”

The NZCTU strongly supports the commitment by the Minister to do a comprehensive policy review of the RSE scheme in early 2023.

“We expect that process to result in better outcomes for RSE workers. This review needs to result in changes that will bring us all confidence that RSE workers have clear and unambiguous rights to decent work and decent living conditions in NZ.”

Wagstaff said the review also needed to clarify how those rights will be monitored and enforced.

“Given the current shortcomings and reports of poor treatment for this workforce, the NZCTU and our affiliates did not support the increase to the cap for the RSE scheme from 16,000 to 19,000 substantial improvements to the scheme.

“However, we are pleased to see the Minister issue an immediate improvement to sick leave entitlement, and the NZCTU and unions will be actively participating with industry to make some immediate improvements and progress on a range of issues. These include improving accommodation, providing independent support and benefits, and better managing poor employers.”

The NZCTU has called on the Minister support to ensure that this work proceeds meaningfully and with urgency. 
 

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