6 Dec 2011

Concerns over possible exploitation of Samoan workers in New Zealand

2:35 pm on 6 December 2011

The Pacific People's Advisory Council for Auckland City hopes a New Zealand meat processor is not trying to exploit workers from Samoa.

CMP Rangitikei, which processes lambs for export, is part of the ANZCO Foods group, which has been in talks since April to negotiate a new collective agreement to replace the one that expired in September.

CMP staff are now recruiting new workers from Samoa as over 100 workers remain in their seventh week of a lockout because of the industrial dispute.

Uesifili Unasa says he doesnt understand why the company doesn't just target unemployed locals for the temporary work.

"Why are we recruiting Samoan people to do what I believe is hard labour, on cheap rates? But secondly why are we having to go to the Pacific Islands, even though it is Samoa, to recruit workers in an economy that's filled with unemployed, young Samoans and Pacific people, and generally a high unemployment rate?"

Meanwhile CMP Rangitikei has denied allegations by the Council of Trade Unions, that Samoan workers at the processing plant near Marton were coerced to believe they had to leave New Zealand, if they didn't sign new contracts.