Council imports workers
Do you agree with Hamilton City Council hiring temporary overseas workers for its water treatment plant?
Hamilton City Council has been forced to spend thousands of dollars to pay for flights and visas for foreign workers hired on temporary contracts to fill positions at the city's water treatment plants.
The three operators were hired from the United States after the council failed to attract short-term contract workers from within New Zealand.
City Infrastructure general manager Chris Allen said the costs, including wages, accommodation and transport, would be covered by the operational budgets of the city's water and wastewater plants.
However, there were additional costs, of about $6500 for each US operator, to cover flights and immigration clearances.
The wage costs are "not out of the ordinary of what we would pay if we could find similar New Zealand-based people," Mr Allen said.
He could not say what the total cost of hiring the foreign workers would be because it would depend on how long they stayed in New Zealand.
"As we recruit . . . we'll be releasing these operators. Some of them might only be here for two to three weeks.
"It's really time-dependent at the moment.
"We expect it will be a maximum of two months to have some of them there."
Mr Allen said restructuring the city's water and wastewater plants had been under way since May, with job roles changed and workers told to reapply for new positions at a lower rate of pay.
"The jobs that some of the staff were doing out there no longer existed but they were offered redeployment into these other roles," he said.
"These other roles, which were probably more suitable for them, were less money marginally."
Three plant operators, who rejected redeployment, left last week.
"It is unexpected. We would have preferred those operators to be redeployed into the role, but we respect their decision."
There are two fulltime plant operator positions available and Mr Allen said he was confident the roles will be filled within the next two months.
"It really is, I'm pretty confident, just a short-term issue that we need to get through."
The council is also looking to recruit a temporary plant manager.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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