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25 Jul 2017

Jacob McSweeny, RNZ New Zealand

New Zealand: Migrant workers in kiwifruit picking prone to exploitation including below minimum wages, says govt. report

At least half of the kiwifruit contractors who have been audited or investigated in Bay of Plenty have failed to provide employment contracts or pay the minimum wage, a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) report found

He said the majority of migrant workers he knew of working in kiwifruit picking in the Bay of Plenty were Indians and Filipinos.

[Union Network of Migrants national organiser Dennis Maga]…said the reason those migrants accepted such poor working conditions was because they were often desperate…

[Council of Trade Unions general counsel Jeff Sissons]…said almost 50 percent of the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries' workforces were migrant workers and he believed some were not speaking out about dodgy employers because they were scared to lose their job…

Labour Inspectorate regional manager Kevin Finnegan said their investigation found more than half of the companies they looked into were failing to provide the minimum wage, correct holiday pay or simply giving workers written contracts…