31 Aug 2004

Fiji calls for formal agreement to prevent exploitation of foreign workers

10:45 am on 31 August 2004

Fiji's Labour Minister, Kenneth Zinck, is calling for a formal agreement between the Cook Islands and Fiji to prevent exploitation of foreign workers.

This follows renewed complaints that people from Fiji are being asked to work without contracts or they're working long hours but aren't being paid properly.

Mr Zinck says he's initiated talks with his Cook Islands counterpart over the allegations.

" We have received reports of corrupt exploitation, contracts being breached, some employers in the Cook islands are not giving passports back. And, also some of their salaries have been short paid. I think as a government we need to actually formalise some of these contracts and scrutinise them"

Mr Zinck says an agreement at government level would offer workers from Fiji a greater degree of protection.

The Cook Islands director of Labour and Trade, David Greig, says he has an agreement with the Immigration office that a proper contract should be sighted before workers are allowed into the country.