Kiwi wineries need to check who is doing their work after a second exploitation case in the space of two months, says the Labour Inspectorate.
The Herald revealed yesterday that Marlborough vineyard contracting company Double Seven Services and its boss were fined more than $120,000 for exploiting workers and other employment law breaches.
"Double Seven has exploited vulnerable migrant employees, employees who will have had little knowledge of their rights or, if they did know their rights, little power or ability to enforce their right," ERA member Peter van Keulen said in his decision.
The Labour Inspectorate today is calling on the viticulture industry to thoroughly check their supply chains to prevent wine labels being produced by exploited labour.
"This is the second determination the ERA [Employment Relations Authority] has made in two months, following an Inspectorate investigation, on a viticulture contracting company for exploiting workers. Despite this company ceasing to trade over a year ago, penalties and arrears will be pursued in full," said the inspectorate's Kevin Finnegan.
"It's a must for all wine businesses to thoroughly check their supply chains to make sure their wine labels and products haven't been produced in any way with exploited labour, as this can also have a devastating effect on its reputation. The potential for investors to withdraw from the industry because of poor social practices is high, if changes are not made," Finnegan said.
Separately, New Zealand Winegrowers has welcomed the result in the ERA case.
"There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour," said Philip Gregan, chief executive of New Zealand Winegrowers.
"All workers in New Zealand have an absolute right to be fairly paid and fairly treated. This includes being properly paid, having a written contract, and all the other legal benefits. None of us want labour supply contractors of this kind working in the industry, and we applaud the Labour Inspectorate for this prosecution."