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Te reo o te KUKI AIRANI $2 Friday, January 24, 2014 Maltreatment of foreign workers on the rise The leader of a prominent national labour organisation said foreign workers are increasingly having their human rights violated by their employers. “lately there has been an increased number of discrimination, harassment and abuse of foreign workers, and it is sad to hear that these matters are happening in the Cook Islands,” said Cook Islands Worker’s association president anthony Turua. “These matters could tarnish the credibility of the Cook Islands, especially in the tourism sector.” Turua’s comments follow the story of realyn hervera, a foreign worker from the Philippines who was sent home earlier this week while authorities were addressing allegations that her contract was violated repeatedly by her employer, highland Paradise Cultural Centre. Over the course of nearly two months of employment, hervera – who was hired to perform accounting duties – said she was forced to accept an un-negotiated pay decrease during her second day on the job. She said additional violations occurred when she was asked to perform duties not listed on her job description, such as cleaning duties and performing domestic jobs for her employer. her former boss, highland Paradise director Tutu Pirangi, has not responded to a request for comment on the allegations. hervera’s lawyer, Mark Short, believes she was fired late last year by Pirangi, leaving the Filipino without a sponsor and the legal right to remain in the country. along with Filipino community advocate Ura Tangaroa, they both tried to work with authorities to prevent her from being expelled. Without an employment contract and the legal right to remain in the Cook Islands, hervera was sent home by authorities on Monday, leaving her husband in rarotonga along with a separate accounting job offer with a different employer. “This incident should not have reached this position because the employee, realyn, came on good faith to ill in her obligation based on her contract and profession,” said Turoa. “however she had been allocated jobs beyond her line of duties, such as looking after the employer’s mother.” after being approached by hervera, Turua said CIWa offered advice to seek assistance from the labour division of the Ministry of Internal affairs and also to seek legal assistance. “labour division has every power under the new employment Bill for mediation and Section 80 to carry out a full investigation of the matter, and I believe that this matter was not carried out,” he said. Turua said members of CIWa are concerned about human rights abuse by some employ- ers in the Cook Islands, and that strengthening existing institutions could help resolve issues between foreign workers and their employers. “They should be looking at strengthening the role of the human Rights Commission proile in the Ombudsman Ofice to look after grievances in general.” The president said he is also aware that a number of elected officials have attended human rights conferences overseas “... to discuss matters pertaining to basic human rights of society, with no follow-up implementation”. regarding hervera’s case, Turua said “there’s two sides to every coin”, however, he acknowledged a negative perception towards foreign workers exists in certain areas of Cook Islands society. “There are some ill feelings that we are bringing foreigners here, but we just don’t have the working population,” he said. “Foreign workers are brought here to ill the gaps.” “The tourism industry success is based on being able to hire foreign workers to fill those gaps,” he said. “But we shouldn’t bring those workers - ES and mistreat them.” ‘Postcard image’ greets tourists Hundreds of old tyres spark fears of mosquito outbreak a landOWner in rarotonga has been asked to remove hundreds of old tyres from his property before they become a largescale mosquito breeding site. The Ministry of health sent two oficers to Arthur Pickering’s Vaimaanga property this week after a worried neighbour phoned up to complain. Charlie ave, a senior health protection oficer, said the more than 500 old motorbike and car tyres are piled in a heap and partially covered in tarpaulin. “They are deinitely a potential breeding site for day-biting mosquitoes, which transmit the dengue virus.” After inding some of the tyres illed with water – a perfect mosquito breeding habitat – the two oficers dealt with the situation, ave said. “We sprayed them with diesel to kill larva inside the tyres. That’s the short-term solution.” The long-term solution is for Pickering to remove the tyres, possibly by shipping them to new Zealand or australia, ave said. “We’re trying to see what options are available.” Pickering said the tyres are about two years old and come from his two businesses, Budget rent-a-Car and Polynesian Bike hire. he said he plans to give as many of the tyres away as he can, for landscaping purposes, and then seal the rest in plastic to prevent mosquitoes breeding inside them. “You can’t return them to new Zealand because it costs too much to ship them,” he said. The tyres were previously piled in other parts of the island where they were wrapped tightly in plastic, he said. They ended up exposed after people kept ripping the plastic open to steal them during the night, he said. The Ministry of health identified the tyres as a risk during the last tutaka health checks and asked Pickering to move them. Pickering said he shifted them to his Vaimaanga property but chose not to seal them until he had invited the public to take their share. “They’re still good to use but we can’t use them for our rentals. You can fill them with soil and use them for landscaping.” he will soon be putting an advertisement in the newspaper encouraging people to come and help themselves. People can drive down there, look at them and take them home.” Whatever remains will be wrapped up and stored on pallets, he said. a member of the public also contacted the CInews this week to express concerns about the - BCS tyres. Stunning turquoise waters greeted passengers of the Crystal Symphony as they came ashore at Arorangi Jetty yesterday. The cruise ship was scheduled to anchor at Avatiu Harbour, but large swells forced the vessel further around the island. One repeat visitor to the Cooks said he preferred coming in at Arorangi rather than “town” because Rarotonga’s west coast looks like a postcard image. Arorangi Jetty gets thumbs up from a returning tourist, page 8 14012312 KiDS meAl DeAl! BriNG the KiDS for DiNNer! A choice of either KiDS cheeSeBUrGer or chicKeN NUGGetS +hot chipS + SlUSh pUppie ServeD iN yoUr very owN themeD Box Be seen irst Book this space ph 22999 weather OUTLOOK FRidAy 29° SATuRdAy 29° SuNdAy 28° MONdAy 27° TuESdAy 27° creative centre tupapa 5.30pm for 6pm friday ph 55097

Friday 24 January

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