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Japanese fishing company ordered to pay more than $179,000 for worker 'exploitation' by DAVE DE LOREAN July 10,2018   |  Source: Stuff

A Japanese fishing company found to have underpaid staff in New Zealand waters has not yet owned up to its "clear exploitation", say inspectors.

Watarai Company Ltd was found to have made serious employment breaches after an investigation by the Labour Inspectorate. It has been ordered to pay about $180,000 in unpaid wages and fines for its treatment of 18 Indonesian workers in NZ waters.

That includes $97,715.87 for minimum wage entitlements, a $80,000 penalty and $2071.56 for the Labour Inspector's costs incurred pursuing the case, according to documents from the Employment Relations Authority.

Labour Inspectorate fishing industry lead Jeanie Borsboom said Watarai had refused service of all documents relating to the investigation.

That was unusual behaviour from a fishing company that had been investigated for employment law breaches.

"They need to put right what the authorities found that they've got wrong," she told Stuff. "Those fishermen worked for half the minimum wage that they were entitled to, in no-one's view is that okay.

"If they want to maintain a reputation, not just in New Zealand but in fishing globally, they need to engage the system and pay their arrears."

The Labour inspectorate was looking at "all options" to make them comply with the


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