Indonesian fishermen fight for unpaid wages
Wed, 03 Oct 2012 6:18p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
A group of Indonesian commercial fishermen have stormed into a Christchurch fish factory looking for answers in a long running pay dispute with United Fisheries.
Instead of standing outside with placards they went inside, and their change of tactic seems to have worked.
The 12 crew members from the chartered Korean fishing vessel Melilla 201 and their supporters confronted the company director about their unpaid wages.
The crew is directly employed by Taejin Ltd, which is chartered to fish for the United Fisheries, who are responsible for guaranteeing the crew wages.
One worker, Suwanandi, says he worked 12 hours a day aboard the trawler, and says minimum wage is just not enough.
“My family has been waiting for me and the money because I’m the only one to support the family," he says.
The crew claim they're owed more than $850,000 - around $70,000 each.
“They are claiming they have worked well above those hours, and I'm not disputing that - it's not my place to dispute that - but that's [something] hopefully the court proceedings will make a judgment on,” says United Fisheries chief executive Andre Kotzika.
It hasn't been a great year for the foreign charter vessel industry - the Melilla 201’s sistership Melilla 203 has already been seized and is tied up in Lyttelton Harbour. It has also been embroiled in claims of unpaid wages.
Earlier this month, four officers from the Oyang 75 vessel were fined $420,000 for illegally dumping 400 tonnes of quota fish, and were forced to forfeit their vessel to the Crown. It will join its sistership the Oyang 77 which has also been seized.
As for the crew from the Melilla 201, they've got some satisfaction but are still frustrated for not being paid for all those extra hours.
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22/11/2012 8:16:20 a.m.
adam kristian wrote:
yes indonesia fisherman says the truth cause i know it.im working in f/v melilla 201 since 2006-2011.indonesia fisherman working to hard if melilla 201 catch squid fish,southren blue withing,dll. the crew not sleep until 22 hours.but the owner melilla 201 not paid over time money.so i need justice from NZ goverment for this case.
8/10/2012 4:30:36 a.m.
Mr.Bob/ PT.Global Crew Management wrote:
Some agent in Jakarta like drakula, take so much money from crew. and send crew un exeperinced.
4/10/2012 7:37:14 a.m.
Jim Seaview wrote:
QUOTE 1: "A group of Indonesian commercial fishermen have stormed into a Christchurch fish factory looking for answers in a long running pay dispute with United Fisheries.
QUOTE 2:"The crew is directly employed by Taejin Ltd, which is chartered to fish for the United Fisheries, who are responsible for guaranteeing the crew wages.
WHAT A FIASCO. Here is a Christchurch based Company - United Fisheries who charter Taejin Ltd to catch quota and they employ cheap Indonesion Labour, but when things are in dispute - these fisherman dont go to their employer, they start demanding their wages with United Fisheries - a NZ Company. NZ is seen as a soft touch for all Russian and Asian fisherman with a gripe, and they should be sent back to the country of the company that employed them. I personally purchase all TALLEYS Fish product as their ships all use NZ Labour and their crews are well trained, their ships are safe as
portrayed last month whe their ship caught fire.
4/10/2012 6:57:24 a.m.
Indonesia sends their workers to many parts of the world.
These workers typically enter into agreements with the manning agents who get them their jobs .
It is the their own manning agents charge them a large fee against their workers wages ...certainly not the employer or the New Zealand company who charters the vessel.
In most cases the employer does not know about these agreements the Indonesian workers make with these Indonesian manning agents.
4/10/2012 1:27:06 a.m.
Stop using these foreign fishing boats with a bad history of human rights. Use NZ owned boats and emplo New Zealanders
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