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Chorus launches independent review of UFB worker abuses

Chorus launches independent review of UFB worker abuses

Former deputy State Services Commissioner charged with probe into UFB project labour abuses

Kate McKenzie (Chorus)

Kate McKenzie (Chorus)

Credit: Chorus

Chorus has commissioned an independent review of employment abuses by subcontractors working on the Ultra-fast Broadband network.

The review will be undertaken by former deputy State Services Commissioner Doug Martin, of Martin Jenkins.

MBIE's Labour Inspectorate yesterday indicated early findings of systemic breaches of employment standards amongst small businesses working on behalf of primary contractors to Chorus.

Chorus uses four primary contractors - VisionStream, Downer, Broadspectrum and UCG - which in turn often sub-contract that work to smaller businesses.

Martin was also Crown manager to Christchurch City Council charged with improving the performance of its consenting function following the Council’s loss of accreditation as a Building Consent Authority.

Furthermore, he was also appointed as Crown negotiator for pay equity negotiations for care support works in aged care where he successfully concluded an historic settlement.

Martin also variously reviewed the performance of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and WorkSafe New Zealand.

"We are extremely disappointed in the early findings of the Labour Inspectorate,” said Kate McKenzie, CEO of Chorus. "Clearly this is potentially an extremely serious issue and widespread breaches are absolutely unacceptable.

"While we have immediately sought further information from MBIE regarding the cases, we also need an independent view to ensure all people working on Chorus’ behalf are always treated fairly and within the law.

"This is an absolute priority, with the full support of the Board."

McKenzie said she expects all its primary contractors to be fully co-operative with the review.

"We will also continue to co-operate fully with the ongoing work of the Labour Inspectorate," she added.


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