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Christchurch dairy and owner to pay more than $40,000 for worker exploitation

The owner of a Christchurch dairy will spend the next three months paying back an exploited migrant worker more than $26,000 in unpaid employment entitlements.

The owner of a Christchurch dairy will spend the next three months paying back an exploited migrant worker more than $26,000 in unpaid employment entitlements.

Symrose’s Super Fresh and its owner Jasdev Thind will also pay $15,000 in penalties for these breaches, including failing to pay minimum wage, underpaying for sick leave, final pay and holiday pay, and not providing an employment agreement. The worker was also required to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week.

Under an Employment Relations Authority Determination, Symrose and its director have agreed to pay the arrears over three months, and the penalties from June 2019, through instalments.

“This is a clear case of migrant exploitation, and sends a strong reminder that penalty action will be taken against non-compliant businesses as well as their owners,” says Jeanie Borsboom, Labour Inspectorate Southern Regional Manager.

“The Inspectorate continues to remind employers that it’s essential to comply with minimum employment standards. Once we begin an investigation, there are no second chances to annul any previous breaches.

“Any business fined or penalised for breaches is also immediately placed on the Stand Down List, so is prevented from hiring migrant workers for up to 2 years.

“This can all have a devastating effect on the public image of these businesses, and consumers can actively take steps to show they oppose any level of worker exploitation by choosing not to buy goods and services from them.

“We also strongly advise any potential staff to do research on prospective employers. If they are in any doubt, they can always call our service centre to get guidance on their rights,” Ms Borsboom says.

MBIE encourages anyone who has information about minimum standards not being met to phone the Ministry’s service centre on 0800 20 90 20, where all concerns will be handled in a safe environment.