Chorus has banned Auckland-based UFB subcontractor Clearvision Communications — stated mission “To Connect the world and be the best fibre installation company” — from undertaking any work on the Chorus UFB network, following a determination from the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) that found Clearvision had commited several breaches of New Zealand employment standards.
“Given the authority’s determination and its reasoning, consistent with Chorus’ and its contractors’ commitment to ensuring that labour standards are upheld, Clearvision will be stood down from all Chorus UFB work,” Chorus said.
“Chorus and its contractors stand ready to assist any Clearvision technicians working on Chorus’ UFB network impacted by this decision, including with any visa transfer process.”
The Clearvision website also says: “We pride ourselves to be strong reputable market players. Our close knit team practises a culture of care for each other and for our clients, thus insuring the delivery of top quality services and innovative solutions in an efficient and effective manner.”
Chorus’ general manager network field and management Andrew Carroll said the breach of employment standards was very disappointing.
“Chorus, Visionstream and UCG remain absolutely committed to doing everything we can to ensure all people are treated fairly and all sub-contractors remain compliant with employment law.” said
Clearvision was one of four UFB subcontractors referred to the ERA after an investigation by the Labour Inspectorate identified breaches of employment law amongst businesses sub-contracted to Visionstream and UCG. If found that 73 subcontractors rolling out broadband networks in Auckland had breached minimum employment standards.
Chorus said that, prior to an ERA hearing, it had already suspended the other three companies referred to the ERA from having any involvement in the Chorus UFB programme.
The review was undertaken by former deputy state services commissioner, Doug Martin, of Martin Jenkins, a registered provider of consultancy services to government in the business and finance category. Its report was released in April.
Clearvision was a subcontractor to Visionstream and Universal Communications Group (UCG). It was not named in the Martin Jenkins report, but the report singled out Visionstream and UCG saying: “There is evidence that the ‘UFB Connect’ part of the UFB work programme is where the model is exposed to breaches of labour standards and migrant exploitation. These problems relate to services delivered by two of the service companies, Visionstream and UCG, through a range of subcontracted delivery partners.”
Carroll said changes made following the release of the independent report were already having a positive impact.
“There is still more work to be done, of course, but the decision to suspend Clearvision Communications from working on our network shows just how serious we take this issue.”