Protesters lock themselves in Manpower Group head office

Veteran activist Sue Bradford was one of eight protesters arrested (Newshub)
Veteran activist Sue Bradford was one of eight protesters arrested (Newshub)

Eight people, including veteran activist Sue Bradford, have been arrested after locking themselves in the head office of major recruiting company Manpower Group in central Auckland.

They were protesting over legally questionable employment contracts being offered by Manpower as exposed by Newshub on Wednesday.

The protesters entered Manpower's ninth-storey office on Shortland Street on Thursday morning, while dozens more gathered on the footpath outside.

Protesters lock themselves in Manpower Group head office

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Manpower head office to support those locked inside. (Newshub)

Newshub spoke to one of the arrested protesters, Vanessa Cole, who said they chose to occupy the Manpower offices because the company is exploiting unemployed workers.

"We've come here today to make a demand both Manpower recruitment agencies and also the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to stop forcing people into precarious, exploitative work," says Ms Cole.

"Work and Income are making people sign these contracts with these recruitment companies within Work and Income offices which are illegal contracts," she added.

Ms Cole is coordinator for the group Action Against Poverty, and said the Manpower contract has no guarantee of hours, wages or location of work.

"It has a privacy statement which enables Manpower to question people's politics, religion, sexual orientation and practices," she said.

"Manpower is a multi-national company and they're using Work and Income as a way of profiting from poverty."

She said her fellow protesters asked Manpower's office workers to leave when they entered on Thursday and then locked themselves in a boardroom.

The group had vowed to stay in the offices until their demands were met from MSD and Manpower to stop the contracts, but police later broke into the boardroom with bolt cutters and arrested all eight and charged them with trespassing.

Manpower has responded to Newshub's story on its contracts, with Managing Director Richard Fischer stating:

"We appreciate the points you have brought to our attention. As a leading organisation providing workplace solutions, we treat all candidates with the utmost respect and take pride in being able to provide meaningful work opportunities, in safe work environments, paid fairly and on time.

"We have reviewed and amended our individual agreement document to ensure there is greater clarity provided."

Protesters lock themselves in Manpower Group head office

Veteran activist and ex-Greens MP Sue Bradford is bundled into a police wagon. (Newshub)