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German holiday worker seriously injured in NZ meat plant incident

Posted by te2ataria on January 19, 2016

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Greedy, unscrupulous and right-down-evil employers prey on young European holiday workers, too!

Previously: Thai Workers Complain of Exploitation in New Zealand

Labour Department bosses have stopped a horticultural contractor from recruiting more foreign workers, after eight Thais complained of exploitation.

Applications from Havenleigh Global Services to employ further international workers have been suspended “until further notice”, department spokesman Steve Cantlon said.  It follows a complaint from a group of Thais who claimed they had been ripped off by Thailand-based recruitment agents and Havenleigh.

The Thais said they paid agency fees of up to NZ$14,000 each on the false promise of lucrative jobs and believed Havenleigh underpaid them for working 60- to 70-hour, seven-day weeks, including public holidays. http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates/675

Today, the employers are readily putting “young visitors into unnecessarily dangerous work situations.”

German holiday worker knocked out in meat plant incident at Rangiuru

A young German holiday worker was screaming in agony after getting caught on a meat spreader at the Rangiuru Affco Talley plant, before losing consciousnesses, according to a report. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/75989861/german-holiday-worker-knocked-out-in-meat-plant-accident-at-rangiuru.html

The incident on Friday has left the union questioning why inexperienced and temporary workers are doing such dangerous jobs.

The man was knocked out and left with cuts to his face and head, as well as damaged teeth, when the incident occurred on the mutton slaughter chain.

The New Zealand Meat Workers Union organising director Darien Fenton said the man was put into one of the most dangerous parts of the freezing works after only  a few weeks of employment training.

“New Zealand has young people coming in on holiday visas and they need to ensure they’re safe,” Fenton said.

“I don’t believe the job that young guy was required to do was safe.

“I don’t know what training he had, but if he was only there two weeks it wasn’t enough and he shouldn’t have been doing that job.”

He was employed on December 9, 2015 and after only “one to two hours of induction to the company, one to two hours of department induction and up to a week of working with a buddy.”

The company said he was competent for the job!

But Fenton said the incident should raise a red flag about the practices of employers putting young visitors into unnecessarily dangerous work situations.

Two fire engines and three ambulances attended the scene at about 1.45pm and the man was taken to Tauranga Hospital where he was discharged later that night.

But the incident is not an isolated case.

In August 2014, at the same plant “another employee was impaled through the head by a 10cm meat hook that emerged under his eye.”

A WorkSafe spokesperson said at the time that one charge had been laid against Affco New Zealand Limited under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

“The charge is that Affco, being an employer, failed to take all practicable steps to ensure that its employee [Jason Matahiki, 43] was not exposed to the hazard of the moving ‘fore leg chain’, while at work.”

The outcome of that case could be released in February, Fenton said.

“He was badly damaged, and has bad dreams every night about what happened to him. Seeing this happen again has just been devastating for him.”

Fenton said the chain was a fast moving environment with knives and mechanical equipment and put stress on workers to keep up with processing.

She said it was too easy for workers to make mistakes if they thought they were falling behind and there were serious consequences if there was an accident.

“This is the second serious harm accident in the same area at Rangiuru in the last two years. “Most holiday visa workers in the meat industry are employed in basic jobs where their safety cannot be compromised.”

General manager for Affco Andy Leonard said approximately 20 staff were on working holiday visas and the injured man was fully inducted and trained for the task he was completing.

“Worksafe were advised [of the incident] and we liaised with them on the telephone and they gave us the go-ahead that we could continue working once they were satisfied with the information we had gathered from the scene,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, Leonard did not comment on “what, if any, additional health and safety features have been implemented since the 2014 incident.”

“I’m quite new [to the company] so I can’t really answer that and I’d rather not comment on that because we are waiting for a response from the courts.” http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/75989861/german-holiday-worker-knocked-out-in-meat-plant-accident-at-rangiuru.html

 – Stuff

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