Former union boss and now the Immigration Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway thinks migrant workers need more people extorting cash from them:
The Immigration Minister is urging migrant workers to join their unions to help stop exploitation.
Migrant worker exploitation has become a hot topic in recent years, with a spate of high-profile cases coming to light, including that of the Masala Indian food chain, and New Zealand’s first human trafficking prosecution.
The Government has made cracking down on migrant worker exploitation a priority, however, the minister has been open about the lack of funding and resources of Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Labour Inspectorate.
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, who is also the Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, said the Government had pledged to double the number of inspectors, and up the funding for this area of work.
Figures released under the Official Information Act earlier this year showed nearly half of the 11,000 migrant exploitation and fraud tipoffs sent to INZ were not investigated in the six years to 2017.
From the 5700 cases that were investigated, less than 150 prosecutions were made. Almost 500 cases, some four-years-old, remained open.
But in the meantime, he’s urging migrant workers to join their unions.
Lees-Galloway said he encouraged “all workers, but particularly migrant workers”, to join their union, to give them a better chance at spotting any breaches of employment law – unpaid overtime, lack of breaks, unpaid holiday pay and annual leave – before it got to the stage of exploitation.
Union delegates within the workplace were best-placed to spot these types of breaches early on and support fellow union members to come forward, and report breaches.
“That provides that proactive enforcement that is difficult for the Labour Inspectorate to achieve across the country, and in all sectors.
“In a way, it’s people taking responsibility for their own work rights.”
That’s nice. A government minister thinks that migrant workers need yet another organisation to exploit them and extort them. If unions are the answer then it was a stupid question.
National Party finance spokesperson Amy Adams said it was the Government’s job to enforce the law – “not to use them as a union recruiting tool”.
“Labour are once again showing they are just the marketing arm of the union movement.
“Labour’s industrial relations policy shows they are clearly about promoting unions at the expense of individual workers and the wider economy – and these comments from Ian Lees-Galloway are an extension of that,” Adams said.
Spot on Amy. Who knew you had it in you? If you carry on like that I might get to like you.
Iain Lees-Galloway should stick to fostering better relations with the stenographer pool or nicking press gallery piss instead of trying to build union strength.
The very last thing a migrant worker needs is a greedy, grasping union raiding their pay packets for no discernible benefit.
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