The Building & Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) is currently an accessory to a major breach of New Zealand's employment laws.
Specifically, the BCITO has been supporting employers who are illegally employing apprentice builders as self-employed labour-only contractors.
The law on labour-only contractors is quite clear. IRD sets guidelines on who is a contractor. Apprentices clearly cannot fit that description: they cannot set their own hours or holidays, they cannot subcontract, and they most definitely are not responsible for their own training!
Furthermore, the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992 states quite clearly that apprenticeships can only be provided in the context of an employment relationship.
There you go dead simple: apprentices cannot, by any definition or method, be self-employed contractors.
The BCITO even admits this, as noted in this email snippet:
So, BCITO is saying they're "not illegal", just "would not pass the test of being legal".
Methinks BCITO is angling for a Tui billboard.
The numbers were very kindly updated as follows:
BCITO is clearly and knowingly flouting the law by entering into apprentice agreements with these employers. Calling it "complicated" is a gigantic cop-out. It's not - you're breaking the law.
Unfair.co.nz is offering to act pro bono for any employee caught up in this, because it's not just wrong and against the law, it is downright immoral.
These kids want to train to be builders and by the very definition of contractors, they are being ripped off. They are being denied holidays, sick leave, statutory holidays and above all ACC. They probably don't realise it, but their ACC cover will be limited to the minimum payable as their employer laughs all the way to the bank.
And I can tell you why this is happening, and why it won't be stopped:
Key is desperate for immigration to reign unchecked. As I've noted many times, the only growth in NZ's economy right now is via immigration. The rise is tourism is more than offset by the collapse of dairy and it is solely the property market propping the whole place up.
To ensure migrants with cash keep coming, you need to have houses and NZ is critically short of builders.
To suddenly deprive the building companies of the rort of 1300 employees (count 'em up, the BCITO says 1348) might well endanger the building of those houses so critical to the process. There is not a snowball's chance in hell that Key is going to allow anything to jeopardise that, so please thank those 1300 apprentices, because your entire economy is dependent upon us turning a blind eye to them. Auckland is and has always been the driver of the economy, and the criticality is enhanced now due to its size and the collapse of rural incomes.
The government is.
The BCITO - charged with their welfare! - is.
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