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UCG 'volunteer' model for Chorus fibre optics build 'unacceptable'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

E tū says the so-called "volunteer" scheme run by Chorus fibre optics contractor, Universal Communications Group is a clear case of migrant exploitation.

E tÅ«’s Communications Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the union recently learned of the scheme through a UCG document advising its subcontractors of the rules around recruiting these "volunteers".

"With what’s happened in Nelson, it’s obvious now that this was about exploiting migrants who were contracted to work for free. That’s disgraceful and unacceptable," says Joe.

Joe says Chorus had no choice but to instruct UCG to scrap the scheme once someone blew the whistle.

However, he says the scheme is the inevitable outcome of Chorus’s determination to drive down the cost of its fibre optic installation programme.

"Chorus has driven the cost so low that experienced contractors like Downer have quit. Skilled workers have been forced out and they’ve been replaced by inexperienced people, including migrants, who will work for less or in this case, nothing at all."

Joe is urging the Government to investigate the true state of the workforce rolling out this critical infrastructure.

"This is government money so there should be transparency. We shouldn’t be seeing this type of exploitation of workers in New Zealand," he says.

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