Labour exploitation in NZ
Allegations of migrant exploitation against Sistema
E tū - a labour union created in 2015 representing workers across eight industries and affiliated to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the New Zealand Labour Party – has alleged that Sistema – country's major plastics manufacturer – has “poor pay and conditions for its workers”. “Sistema’s mainly migrant process workers – from Fiji and India - are required to work five 12-hour shifts – a 60-hour week – for the minimum wage.
Some work more than 70 hours a week. Workers suffer back injuries from heavy lifting; swollen hands as well as finger and thumb injuries from working with the product clips and seals; neck and shoulder pain as well as leg and back pain from standing for 12 hours shifts".
Meanwhile, Sistema in a media statement denied the allegations, accusing the Union of “using bully tactics” amid negotiations for a collective employee agreement, adding “it was disappointed and frustrated" at "these false claims".
Research: Migrant issues brought to light by Caritas
In response to ongoing accounts of the unfair treatment of migrant workers in New Zealand, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand - the Catholic Bishops’ agency for justice, peace and development - has released a report, Stand up for what’s right – supporting migrant workers.
It is based on a small-scale qualitative research project about migrant worker experiences that the organisation undertook in the Wellington Catholic Archdiocese. The Report “captures a range of workplace issues that migrant workers have experienced, and support persons working with migrant workers have witnessed. These challenges related to taking up employment below legal minimum work conditions, facing bullying and harassment, and being discriminated against in the workplace”.