Construction industry should hire employees, not contractors - union

  • 26/02/2018
house build
E tu says the scam is symptomatic of how easy it is to lose control of just who is working on building sites. Photo credit: Getty

The E tu union is urging the construction industry to get its house in order after a scam involving illegal Malaysian construction workers was uncovered.

About 200 illegal Malaysian workers have been deported or stopped from entering New Zealand after a six-month Immigration New Zealand (INZ) investigation into construction companies.

Operation Spectrum saw staff raid construction sites around Auckland, detaining and deporting 54 people - while a further 36 chose to self-deport in order to avoid apprehension and detection, INZ said during the weekend.

E tu spokesman Ron Angel says the scam is symptomatic of how easy it is to lose control of just who is working on building sites.

"People are calling this third-tier subcontracting but actually, these are fourth-tier subcontractors and the situation is out of control.

"Construction firms have come to rely on them due to labour shortages, but they are a risk. Hundreds of these workers were here illegally, with no monitoring of their pay and conditions, and probably no labour protection of any sort," he says.

The events are a wake-up call for contractors and project managers to monitor their sites and their workforce properly.

He says companies should directly employ workers as well as providing standardised wages and training.

NZN