Burger King employs migrant workers to train as managers
Almost 25 per cent of the 641 migrant workers employed by the New Zealand arm of fast-food giant Burger King over the last five years have been trained as managers.
Information obtained by the New Zealand Green Party confirms that 146 of the 641 migrants entered the country under the essential skills work visa category, and were sponsored by Burger King to be trained as managers. Green Party spokesperson for industrial relations, Denise Roche says she finds it hard to believe that no New Zealand resident nationals were available to be trained for the posts.
According to Roche, 2,000 unemployed New Zealanders recently turned up to apply for a single vacancy in a South Auckland supermarket. Surely, she said, at least a few of the applicants would be quite capable of running a burger bar.
Immigration rules state that a condition of a sponsored work visa is that the migrant must leave the country if he or she is sacked or resigns. Consequently, said Roche, sponsored workers are far less likely to press for wage increases and better working conditions as they are dependent on their employers for their visas.
Roche added that the practice is helping to push wage levels down across the board at a time when inflation is rising significantly. She claims that Burger King employees are expected to work well in excess of 40 hours per week and are placed on salary to avoid the company having to pay the minimum hourly wage.
She also states that workers at Burger King are strongly advised not to complain and not to join a trade union. Last month, Unite, the trade union representing Burger King staff, began a campaign against the organisation following complaints from workers of underpayment and unfair treatment.
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