KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released the findings of its investigation into Labour’s concerns the engineers at Hutt Railway workshops – hired to repair asbestos-riddled DL locomotives – are being exploited.
“The locomotives being fixed should have originally been made at the Hutt workshops and their wagons built at Hillside in Dunedin. Instead National outsourced the work to as part of the Government’s short-sighted ‘cheapest at best’ procurement policy.
“The Labour Inspectorate at the Ministry was unable to determine whether they are being paid the minimum wage or receiving annual leave or bereavement leave. They are being paid in China, in Chinese currency.
“These findings stink of a cover up. Both KiwiRail and the workers’ employer – China CNR Corporation – have refused to give the ministry their wage records. If they had nothing to hide, these records would be made available immediately.
“I believe the engineers are not being paid the minimum wage and this report seems to confirm that. If wage records don’t exist, that is evidence of a breach of our labour laws.
“New Zealand wage laws apply to everyone working in New Zealand.
“China CNR Corporation should not be allowed to bring any further workers into New Zealand until it makes its wage records public,” Trevor Mallard says.