Protests in NZ Demand Final Pay for Migrant Workers

This is a summary of news article published at https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/507114/financially-strapped-migrant-workers-protest-for-wages-in-wake-of-ele-collapse

Migrant workers in New Zealand stage protests demanding final pay after losing jobs. Around 500 workers were affected when labour hire firm ELE group went into receivership. Protesters call for immediate processing of payments and better support for affected workers. Immigration NZ prioritises visa processing and job change requests.

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Migrant workers who lost their jobs a month ago have staged protests in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington in New Zealand to demand their final pay. Around 500 migrant workers lost their jobs when the ELE group, a major labour hire and recruitment firm, went into receivership.

Around 30 workers, alongside representatives from First Union and Migrante Aotearoa, protested outside the Deloitte offices in Auckland. They chanted and held signs demanding immediate processing of their final payments. Migrante Aotearoa chairperson Mikee Santos explained that the workers were struggling without their final pay and were already in hardship, unable to pay their rent and living off noodles and food packs.

The protesters argued that receiving their minimal entitlements would help them make immediate payments and support their families back home. General secretary of First Union Dennis Maga criticised the government for its lack of response and urged it to improve security for migrant workers.

The protest in Wellington also called for better support for the 500 Filipino workers who lost their jobs at ELE group. Many of the workers are struggling to find new jobs or obtain new visas. Migrante Aotearoa member Bernard Borra stated that the protesters were calling on the Philippine government to expedite emergency funds for all workers affected by the closure. They argued for a permanent emergency fund that would help workers affected by future closures.

The Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff and First Union regional secretary Sheryl Cadman attempted to deliver a letter to the Philippine Embassy and requested a meeting with the ambassador but were denied. Despite the peaceful nature of the protests, five police cars arrived on the scene.

Immigration Minister Erica Stanford stated that she had received regular updates and had directed the prioritisation and quick processing of visa and accreditation applications for impacted migrants and employers. Job change requests have also been prioritised and processed. Stanford has sought to tighten policy settings and processes regarding job checks.

author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 22 January 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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