9 Sep 2003

Cook Islands immigrant workers now need written contracts

3:53 pm on 9 September 2003

Immigrant workers in the Cook Islands will be required to have written contracts in the future following allegations of mistreatment and bad working conditions.

The Director of Labour, David Greig, says he's investigated the situation and there are verbal agreements between some Fijian immigrant workers and the motels and hotels where they're employed.

He says there's evidence that some people are working much longer than 40 hours but he's been told that anything above that goes towards paying for their accommodation and food.

Mr Greig says he will be insisting on written contracts from now on.

"In addition to that employment contract, I have made it very clear to immigration that the employment contracts as of today have to be endorsed by myself in this office, from the labour office as evidence that conditions of the contracts are in line with Cook Islands laws."

The Labour department is not prosecuting any of the motels that have been the subject of complaints.