sky liquorTwo Auckland liquor stores and a dairy owned by businessman Ala’a Bader have been ordered to pay more than $200,000 in wage repayments and fines for breaching employment law.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has found that the companies that operate Civic Convenience, Symonds Liquor and Sky Liquor, underpaid some of their staff who were international students from India.

A Labour inspector investigated after the workers complained. The investigation found that the men were not getting the minimum wage or holiday pay and that they did not have employment agreements. Accurate time and wage records were not kept. The inspector demanded that the employer make correct wage payments, but he failed to respond. The claim was then taken to the ERA.

The ERA found that $60,000 was to be paid as a penalty for breaching the Minimum Wage Act 1983 and Holidays Act 2003. It ordered that $55,000 be paid for breaches of the Employment Relations Act 2000 by not providing employment agreements. A further $96,574 was to be repaid as minimum wages and holiday pay.

Labour Inspectorate northern regional manager David Milne said the complainants were vulnerable because of their visa status, and Bader exploited this. “The exploitation of workers is not welcome and breaches New Zealand law,” Milne said. “The Labour Inspectorate will not hesitate to enforce and prosecute breaches of minimum employment standards such as minimum wage and holiday entitlements.” Anyone in this situation should call 0800 20 90 20, he said.

Not another case of migrants exploiting migrants? Well done to the Labour Inspectorate for nailing yet another scumbag. Hopefully Mr Bader will be made to pay his fines and not slither off the hook and repeat the same behaviour again.