Migrant layoffs examined

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 05:00 03/07/2014

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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has confirmed it is investigating Buildtech's redundancies of migrant staff.

"MBIE is aware of allegations about Buildtech and is making inquiries," a spokesperson said.

The Press reported yesterday that seven migrant workers were upset after losing their jobs with building company Buildtech less than halfway through their three-year contracts.

Buildtech confirmed it had made five Filipino staff redundant as the company was reshaping its workforce. It also had not extended two employees' contracts beyond their 90-day trial period.

The company said its work was changing from mainly under-cap insurance repairs to over-cap repairs and rebuilds.

One of the affected staff, speaking anonymously, said most workers had paid fees of about $8000 back in the Philippines to secure a visa and a three-year contract.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union construction organiser Paul Johnston said Buildtech should not be allowed to hire any more migrants if they made some redundant.

An Immigration NZ spokesperson said it agreed that companies should not be hiring more migrant workers for positions that have previously made redundant.

Buildtech director Israel Cooper said Buildtech had not recruited overseas since November last year. It was now looking to fill five positions including plumbers and electricians.

The restructure had followed a three-month review.

Six of seven affected staff had already received other offers of employment.

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- The Press

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