Wage theft revealed - $35 million and counting!

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Official information request reveals tip of the holiday pay iceberg

The Council of Trade Unions has received a response to an official information request revealing that at least $35 million has been paid in outstanding holiday paid to working Kiwis in 25 identified organisations.

“We know that this information is the tip of the iceberg," said CTU President Richard Wagstaff, "and that the government agency who is responsible for making sure employers stick to the law, simply doesn’t have the resourcing to identify all of the working people who haven’t been paid what they are due.

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Labour Letter - September 2016

National Labour News

Unions, community groups and activists held a Day of Action on Saturday, September 10 to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Thousands of New Zealanders marched and protested against the proposed trade deal in dozens of events held across the country. Anti-TPP demonstrations were held in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Hokianga, Whangarei, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Nelson and other communities. Among the groups supporting the action were the NZ Council of Trade Unions, Public Services Association, FIRST Union, Greenpeace, 350.org, Oxfam New Zealand and SAFE for Animals. "This is a time when families are struggling with high housing costs, insecure work and stagnant wages. The gaps between the have and have-nots are widening in our society," co-ordinator, Barry Coates said. According to the organisers, the purpose of the event was a need to "join the dots" between many issues and “reclaim democratic rights” for citizens and national sovereignty. Critics charge the trade proposal gives corporations too much power and undermines jobs. Labour, Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party have announced their opposition to the agreement.

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Christchurch protest September 10

 

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Fired-up fast-food worker (and Unite delegate) proves he’s no chicken

Letter to the Editor of the ODT by Olive McRae, Unite Organiser, Dunedin

Dear editor, 
While it may be news to the general public that David Cannon is a fast thinking health and safety know-how employee at Roslyn KFC, what the public may not know is that Mr Cannon is also a very strong delegate for Unite Union and dedicates a fair amount of time making sure that work conditions are safe and fair for all. Unite are very proud of Mr Cannon, everyday, including days that he goes that extra mile for safety of not only his work mates, but the public as well. 
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Fire takes hold in a Go Bus Transport bus in Stuart St

By Shawn McAvinue

(Reprinted from the Otago Daily Times)

A quick-thinking fast-food worker extinguished a bus fire in Dunedin yesterday.

KFC Roslyn team member Dave Cannon said he went to the restaurant for a meal before his night shift started.

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Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: the truth about the “rock star economy”

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

The business media is all in an excited state over the fact that the headline growth rate for the New Zealand economy is at 3.6% for the year ending June.

What they don't tell you is that because of the artificial boost to the population as a result of the government opening the taps for new migrants the actual annual per capita growth rate is only 0.7%.

"We are seeing low-quality growth in what New Zealand produces," says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg commenting on the June GDP growth statistics released today. "Not all growth is equal."

"Much of the growth is driven by the rising population, with high net immigration. Per person, GDP rose only 0.7% over the year - well below the 1.6% per year average since 2012 (after the recession ended), and far below the 2.6% per year average from 2000 to 2007, before the recession began.

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A young worker blasts John Key's slanders

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On John Key’s recent poverty shaming: low wage workers are not “lazy” or “drug addicts”

By Chloe King, Unite volunteer and young writer

In a recent Radio New Zealand interview, Prime Minister John Key shamed low waged workers calling them, “drug addicts” and inferring they are “lazy.” Okay, I am one of the hundreds of thousands of low waged workers in this country and I feel devastated by his comments which also included stating we, the lazy and low waged workers, have no work ethic. Key is using these reasons to justify bringing in record numbers of migrant workers into New Zealand, to take up roles in work considered unskilled like fruit picking, hairdressing, labouring, baking, driving trucks, managing cafes and working in hospitality. As Key, told Radio New Zealand reporter Jesse Mulligan, “they [New Zealand’s unemployed] just can't muster what is required to actually work."

 

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Problems with cashing up annual leave

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Using your Annual Leave to top up your income? Here’s why you should think twice.

By Shanna Reeder, Unite Hotels Organiser

A quick poll on the Unite Hotel Workers facebook page revealed 21 out of 26 Hotel workers have used Annual Leave to top up their weekly pay.

This is common practice in hotels in New Zealand, more so than in other industries.

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Meeting thursday to support Indian students

By Anu Kaloti, Migrant Workers Association

Recently over 150 international students from India were issued deportation orders by Immigration New Zealand for the use of forged financial documents. The students had made all payments as advised by agents and were not aware of the fraud being committed by the agents on their behalf. By deporting the students the NZ government would be punishing the victims rather than the culprits.

A peaceful protest was held in support of the students on Saturday, September 3, outside National list MP Dr Paramjeet Parmar’s office in Mt Roskill, Auckland. This protest was organised by Migrant Workers Association and supported by Socialist Aotearoa, Unite Union, First Union, Etu, Unimeg and IMWA.

Chants of “We want Justice” and “We are not cheaters” could be heard as protesters marched along Stoddard Road. The protesters demanded that the deportation orders be withdrawn and the students allowed to stay and complete their education in New Zealand. 

NOT OUR FAULT - Justice for Indian Students - a short film by RJ Roopam - please share far and wide.

 

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Support protest on Saturday to demand justice for Indian students

Unite Union is full supporting over 150 International Indian students who are about to be deported from New Zealand because their India-based agents have used fake financial documents to get them into the country on student visas.

Some of these students are also workers and members of Unite Union says Unite National Director Mike Treen.

They have been taken advantage of by greedy education providers and employers in this country. The government is also full complicit in using the students to bankroll private and public education providers in this country. The government is also deliberately creating a pool of unskilled and semi-skilled labour to be used and abused by employers in this country.

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NZ Labour Letter August 2016

The online publication of the New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd. 

National Labour News

E Tū charged the use of so-called “arms-length” employment is growing and labour-hire companies are exploiting workers. E Tū union organiser Shopan Dasgupta warned that many companies keep low-paid workers on insecure or sham contracts with few benefits. Some workers have even been forced to pay their own ACC levies. Dasgupta said labour-hire companies have gone from providing genuine temporary jobs to abandoning their responsibilities to offer “fair, safe and secure work.” He pledged the union would prove to companies that the workers were actually employees. "(the companies) cannot fob them off as and when you wish," he said. The challenge of monitoring workers under long-term casual contracts is a serious national issue. Last October, First Union, which represents 27,000 workers, called on Employment Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse to conduct an industry-wide investigation of labour-hire companies. Labour Party workplace relations and safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway also supports an inquiry in New Zealand’s contract employment.

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Driver Kamlesh Prasad and E Tū union organiser Shopan Dasgupta claim labour-hire companies are cutting costs at workers' expense.

 

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WINZ work broker facilitates wage theft at luxury inner city hotel

By Shanna Reeder, Unite Hotels Organiser

Unite Union has been approached by several former and current workers at an inner city Auckland hotel alleging wage theft by their employer.

Their employer has a long-standing relationship with a company called “In-Work.” The workers report there is a steady supply of workers being provided to the hotel from this company.

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