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Worker exploitation widespread in New Zealand – new study

The study [“Worker exploitation in New Zealand: a troubling landscape”] - the most wide-ranging of its type to date – suggests exploitation of migrant and New Zealand-born workers is widespread across many key industries, including horticulture, hospitality and construction. The most common forms of exploitation reported were: Excessive working hours sometimes without breaks -  up to 18-hour shifts, and 80-90 hour weeks; No pay or severe under-payment with some temporary migrants being paid for only half of the hours worked, or earning as little as $4-$5 an hour; No holiday pay; No employment contracts; Taxes deducted but not paid to the Inland Revenue; Degrading treatment: being sworn at or insulted, denied bathroom breaks, verbal or physical abuse and threatened abuse, restriction of movement; Cash-for-residency schemes, in which workers paid cash to their employers, which was returned to them as their “wage” – viewed as “normal” in some circles.  Patterns of exploitation varied from industry to industry.

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