The exploitation of migrant workers has been in the news over the past week and TV1 has done a good job exposing what I believe is just the tip of the iceberg.
This is a problem not just confined a few migrant owned restaurants. In the last week, I’ve had contacts from people in the home-care industry, the agricultural industry, the construction industry, the tourism industry and people in trades. While some have been migrants, I’ve heard a lot from other workers and businesses who are saying they simply can’t compete where this kind of blatant law breaking is happening.
It’s not only about paying below minimum wage either. Burger King, the multinational owned business is being taken to the Employment Authority by Unite Union for alleged union busting and discrimination against migrant workers. There’s a litany of stories like this in the migrant community.
The Minister of Labour has ordered a crackdown. That’s good, but it will take an army of Labour Inspectors that our Department of Labour resources won’t run to, especially as they are currently embroiled in the creation of Steven Joyce’s mega ministry monster, MoBIE. Someone today told me that they have waited seven months to hear back about a case of clear minimum wage breach for a group of migrant workers who were brave enough to seek help.
No-one knows how deep this morass is. I think stamping this out is going to take some effort from of all of us. We have to expose the poor treatment of migrants and we have to demand action.
I will be.