Free content by Fresh Content.net

Thursday, October 1

Migrant workers left high and dry

More than 40 migrant lines engineers who were laid off during the Visionstream transfer are struggling to get by while they wait for the company's permanent employment agreement to be signed off by immigration.

The workers are not eligible for any benefits and are not legally allowed to work outside of the telecommunications industry as they were brought to New Zealand under the skills shortage system.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says workers have been left high and dry by Telecom.

"These workers came to New Zealand in good faith and now they've been left with no work, no money and no legal way to work and this is all because Telecom failed to communicate with Immigration until August."

"Telecom would have been planning to change contractors for months and they would have known full well there would be an issue with their large migrant workforce," says Little, "but they failed these workers and we believe they should be supporting them financially until their offer of permanent employment is signed off by immigration."

Little says the union has been offering financial help but that is limited. "We're still collecting donations and we are supporting these members as much as we can but there are costs we can't meet such as the $3000 worth of hospital bills one member faces for his wife back in the Philippines."

"Telecom caused this mess and Telecom has millions to throw at senior management salaries," says Little, "in our opinion that money would be better spent looking after the people Telecom desperately needs to fix its collapsing network."

The EPMU is continuing to collect money for members who have been made redundant by Telecom, including migrant members.

Donations can be made by ringing 0900 STAND TALL or directly to the EPMU's hardship account: 02-0568-0177685-00, BNZ, Reference: Telco.