Allegations not supported

On: 17 April 2015

The Labour Inspectorate in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has concluded an investigation into allegations by Labour MP Trevor Mallard around Chinese workers at KiwiRail and could not identify any welfare issues or find evidence of breaches of New Zealand minimum employment standards law.

Labour Inspectorate General Manager George Mason says it was also more than likely that New Zealand employment law would not apply as the workers were China-based and here only temporarily for work.

“Taking all these factors into account, the Labour Inspectorate has decided that no further action is warranted and the investigation is now closed,” Mr Mason says.

“The workers said during our investigation that they were paid for each day that they were in New Zealand. They did not work on New Zealand public holidays and when they were sick.

“The Labour Inspector was unable to determine whether the workers received remuneration equivalent to at least the New Zealand minimum wage as the workers and their employers Yongji and Dalian Loco declined to provide wage records, on the basis of privacy. Regardless, it is more than likely New Zealand employment law does not apply to these workers as they are based in China and here only temporarily for work,” Mr Mason says.

The investigation found:

  • The workers received regular breaks during the working day that would allow them rest, have a meal and to attend to personal matters.
  • The workers lived in accommodation that met their needs and had regular access to food.
  • No evidence to support allegations they lived in cramped conditions or allegations suggesting they had limited access to food.
  • Their employer paid for their travel, insurance, accommodation and gave them a daily allowance for food and other expenses. KiwiRail provided them lunch each day.
  • They were paid for each day that they were in New Zealand. They did not work on New Zealand public holidays and when they were sick.

Read a summary of the investigation [PDF 338KB].
 

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