Seasonal workers

Over 200 Samoan seasonal workers evicted from New Zealand

New Zealand’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labor Leatinu’u Wayne So’oalo announced the move in Parliament. 

So’oalo said the group included single women and married women who gave birth while deployed overseas.

Others include husbands and wives tying the knot abroad while their legitimate other halves are in Samoa.

Despite the social woes, the RSE Success stories for Samoan families are publicly documented with families reaping the fruits of hard labour with the seasonal workers wages financing new vehicles, building new homes, start a small business etc.

Pacific seasonal workers form choir at Brisbane abattoir

The 40-strong choir formed after Samoan and Solomon Islander workers at Australian Country Choice's Brisbane facility started meeting after work for singing sessions.

After management heard about the singalongs, an electronic keyboard and a guitar arrived.

So too did an invitation to hold an Easter concert for staff and friends.

Keeping home alive

The performance featured hymns sung back home to celebrate Easter as well as traditional dances.

Samoan seasonal workers in Australia breach contract rules

Under the labour scheme, workers must be on their best behaviour while working overseas.

In the past Samoans on the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme have been expelled for reasons including theft, smoking marijuana and for extramarital affairs.

Minister for Commerce, Industry and Labour, Leatinu'u Wayne So'oialo, revealed in Parliament this week that some of the group who tried to obtain Australian visas, had extramarital affairs, were getting married or having children while on the work scheme.

     

Flights for seasonal workers from Samoa to Australia and NZ suspended

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour advised the public in a statement yesterday that there have been minor changes to both schemes which have caused the flights to be temporarily stopped.

The suspension affects seasonal workers who were booked to travel on approved flights in April and the Ministry's assistant CEO, Fepulea'i Roger Toleafoa has thanked affected workers for their patience and said there would be more information about the changes soon.

Samoa Cabinet approves charter flights for seasonal workers

Cabinet approved the charter flights at its latest meeting.

There will be four flights to Australia and another four to New Zealand.

The flights to Australia are scheduled to depart Samoa on 1,7,23 and 25 March.

The dates for flights to New Zealand are 8, 15, 27 and 29 March.

Samoa govt upset at allegations its seasonal workers in Australia mistreated

This follows media reports in Australia that some Pacific Islander workers feel like they are being "treated like slaves" as fruit pickers in Australia under the Seasonal Worker Programme.

In an interview with Radio Polynesia the Minister of Public Enterprises, Leatinu'u Wayne So'oialo expressed disappointment after reading the news articles from Australia.

To date there are close to 2,000 Samoans in New Zealand and Australia under the seasonal worker schemes.

100 RSE workers in Australia test positive to Covid-19

The Samoa Observer reports the Ministry's CEO, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, said all workers on this short-term employment scheme to Australia were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before departure.

However, he said more than 1000 workers from participating Pacific Island countries have tested positive.

Pulotu said there have been no reports of Samoan workers in New Zealand returning positive tests.

ILO reviews seasonal schemes in NZ and Australia

The report "Seasonal worker schemes in the Pacific through the lens of international human rights and labour standards" also reveals that other Pacific islanders on the New Zealand RSE scheme earn less money than Samoans doing the same work.

Samoans in New Zealand earned the highest money at $AUD1,093 per week with the Fijians raking in the lowest rate of Pacific Island workers at $AUD736 per week.

The tables are turned in Australia though with Fijians earning the highest at $AUD1,138 per week and Vanuatu workers are paid the lowest at $AUD834 per week said the report.

Absconding seasonal worker posters under review after backlash

Around 12,000 seasonal workers have come into Australia over the past year from Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and Solomon Islands but of those, more than 1000 have absconded.

However, the government's campaign, which featured posters, faced serious public backlash, with critics saying it created fear and shame among workers.

Bundaberg Pastoral care worker Jeff Smith said the campaign was one of fear.

"Every word on that thing is fear driven, there is no compassion," he told Pacific Beat.

Calls for a crackdown on labour hire companies 'poaching' Pacific workers

In the last 18 months, around 12,000 workers have come into Australia from countries such as Vanuatu and Samoa.

But how many have stayed in the jobs, they were contracted to do?

ABC Rural has been told more than 1,000 of these workers have absconded, with many poached by labour hire companies that are not licensed to do so.

What's going wrong?

Speaking to RN, Richard Shannon from Growcom said across Australia, farmers were reporting seasonal workers suddenly leaving their jobs.