6 Jul 2020

Samoa RSE workers to return on chartered flights

6:29 am on 6 July 2020
RSE worker in a Hawke's Bay orchard.

RSE worker in a Hawke's Bay orchard. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Samoa's RSE workers who finished their contracts in May and June will be returned home on chartered flights organised by the New Zealand horticulture industry.

The date for the first flight is yet to be finalised but an assistant CEO of Samoa's Ministry of Labour who is the head of the RSE division, Lemalu Nele Leilua, said the horticulture industry agreed to be responsible after a meeting last week.

This comes after reports of stranded seasonal employees getting homesick as well frustrated for not knowing when they could go back home.

Lemalu said some of the families in Auckland asked the employees who are relatives to leave their working bubbles and spend time with them before returning home.

But she has strongly warned the families not to do so because of Covid-19 pandemic safety measures.

The head of the RSE division said workers who spend time with families will go into quarantine in New Zealand for 14 days before boarding flights and will also spend another 14 days in quarantine on arrival.

She emphasises the importance for workers to continue staying in the working places for their safety from the spread of the coronavirus but to also protect Samoa who is still Covid-19 free.

Lemalu revealed that some of the 140 RSE workers who returned on the second special flight from New Zealand a week ago had been spending time with their families in Auckland.

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