Errant stores dragging liquor industry down

A business that operates bottle stores and a dairy in Auckland has been heavily fined after the Labour Inspectorate found it to be in substantial breach of New Zealand labour laws. The business which was taken to the Employment Relations Authority by seven migrant workers who complained about their working conditions, lack of pay and accommodation arrangements was ordered to pay $196,542 – $96,542 in wages owed and a $100,000 penalty.

This is the latest in a string of liquor store violations of employment law or some aspect of their liquor licence. The Labour Inspectorate notes that 60 stores have been found wanting because of such breaches since 2012.

It was not said in the article whether Mr Reddy would be stripped of his managers licence. Irrespective, I do believe he should be made to undertake correctional training under supervision with a warning about long term consequences if further violations come to light.

What really bothers me is the number of people in this industry, but also the hospitality sector who are not from New Zealand and yet seem to think that because the authorities in their country of origin were corrupt, that ours will be too. More to the point, I wonder what it would take to get the message home to prospective managers from other countries, that compliance with New Zealand law is not something they have a choice about.

12 stores in the Bottle-O chain are currently facing investigations into alleged abuses of New Zealand law.

Without suggesting that the owner of the franchise is culpable, such a large number of stores being simultaneously investigated by the Labour Inspectorate does raise some serious questions about the culture of those places.

I believe that the communities in which they operate deserve to know whether these stores are compliant with New Zealand law. Stores that are found to have breached the law, should be made to display a notice in their front window for 12 months noting that they are in breach. The notice should mention what the breach was and should only be able to be taken down by a Labour Inspectorate staff member at the end of the notice period and assuming that no further violations occur in that time.

Should they commit further offences, their trading licence should be suspended until such a time as the Labour Inspectorate is satisfied that the operators are now fully compliant. Any further abuse of the law following that should be construed as a third strike and the offending premises shuttered.


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