More than one hundred seasonal workers have been sent home from overseas for breach of their contracts.
Director of Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade that looks after the Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) George Tuti said the those sent home were absconders. Absconders are workers’ that left their original employers to new ones illegally.
Tuti could not give an exact figure but said it was around 100 workers and they were absconders.
Before leaving for overseas, workers sign contracts with government approved employers. Currently 37 employers from Australia are recruiting from Solomon Islands.
SBMOnline understands that one of the conditions is that an employee has to remain loyal to his/her employer during the period of contract. Reports of workers leaving their original employer that hired them from Honiara to new employers are common amongst seasonal workers, some claim for better hourly rates.
Tuti said it is important that workers carefully study their contracts with their employers before signing them because if they move out from them then they are in breach of the contract.
He added if they breach their contracts then they are terminated.
Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Collin Beck said the programme is a partnership agreement with Solomon Islands and Australia and when they breach their contract it has an implication on their visas in that case the Australian laws will basically kick in.
But despite that, Beck said the reputation of the country is still strong.
“Overall, the number is small compared to the good work that the rest of the workers are doing and that’s the reason our numbers keep rising.”
There are now more than 4,500 workers working in Australia and New Zealand, with only 400 from the latter.