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Migrant workers picket restaurant over wage theft

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Migrant workers will be picketing Azon Filipino restaurant at 112 Parnell Road, Aucklamd at 12.30 today.

UNEMIG advocate Bill Bradford says the restaurant is one of three that was owned by the same person, each under different company structures.

The other two were Piknik, a fast food outlet in Onehunga and Kibo a Japanese restaurant in Manukau. Piknik was operated by a company owned by Joseph Lloyd Macrohon called JLMC Ltdand Kibo operated by a company also owned by Mr Macrohon called MJ Lua Ltd. At the end of July Mr Macrohon called the staff of Piknik and Kibo together for a meeting which ended in all the staff being sacked.

Mr Macrohon had also consistently refused to pay one of the Filipino workers according to the terms of his employment agreement. He said the agreement was only for the purposes of deceiving Immigration NZ into granting a work visa and that he had never intended paying the agreed wage.

"This is outright wage theft," Mr Bradford says.

Bill Bradford says UNEMIG has been trying to negotiate a settlement with the restaurant owner for wage arrears and unjustified dismissal since the beginning of August and the parties had been to mediation with MBIE twice. "Last week we thought we might have been making progress. Then on Tuesday I received notice that the owner has put JLMC into liquidation, so he can just walk away from his responsibilities to his workers.

"We are worried that he will do the same to the workers sacked from MJ Lua Ltd so we are picketing his remaining operating restaurant, Azon, to shine a light on his activities."

Bill Bradford says three of the workers have been unemployed since they were sacked. One of them may have to abandon his dream of a life in New Zealand unless he can find a job soon because his visa was tied to employment with Mr Macrohon.

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