17 Mar 2009

Company defends retaining migrant workers

3:30 pm on 17 March 2009

A jet boat propulsion company is defending its decision to retain selected workers following union claims it kept temporary migrant workers at the expense of permanent New Zealand staff.

The Manufacturing and Construction Workers union says CWF Hamilton made 28 Kiwi workers redundant last week while retaining 24 migrants on temporary permits.

CWF Hamilton would not comment specifically, but in a statement on Tuesday says it selected staff to be retained on the basis of the skills required to maintain the business.

The company says the redundancies are regrettable, but are in response to reduced international demand for its waterjet units.

The union says it has made a complaint to the Department of Labour about CWF Hamilton.

It says workers most recently employed by a company should be the first to go when there are redundancies.

The union is also calling on the Government to follow Australia in reducing migrant worker numbers as the recession continues to put New Zealand jobs at risk.