17 Nov 2008

Foreign workers claiming abuse says Cook Islands Labour and Consumer Services

11:38 am on 17 November 2008

The Labour and Consumer Services in the Cook Islands has been fielding calls from some foreign workers claiming they are being abused by their employers.

Workers from the Philippines, Fiji, South America, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are working in the country to fill a severe labour shortage.

The director of the Services, Helen Maunga, says the workers who call her department are too frightened to reveal their identity or their employer.

She also says physical and verbal abuse are just a few of the things the workers face.

"The types of abuse range from unpaid wages, long working hour, some of them claim they work from 7am to 7pm or 9pm every day, the other one is like, they have jobs that is quite hazardous to their health and there is no proper safety gear, the other one is one employee is working two jobs under one employment contract."

Helen Mauga says she knows some of the wokers are Fijians and Filipinos and they all problaly work in the domestic industry.