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VIET SEAFOOD

Sanford Admits Underpaying Indonesian Tuna Fishermen

New Zealand tuna fishing company Sanford has admitted about 100 of its Indonesian fishermen have been underpaid, leaving them out of pocket by NZD 885,000. The news comes after work conditions in Thai tuna factories recently made headlines and the revelation shows that no sector in the tuna industry can escape scrutiny. 
Sanford is blaming the Indonesian labor agent PT Indah Megah Sari (PT IMS) for the lack of payments because “the amounts paid to the families…were shown as having been signed off by the families.” They were not and no one knows the whereabouts of the missing money.
Sanford publicly admitted the problem after Official Information Act documents revealed underpayments.
The underpaid workers were crew members aboard three of Sanford’s foreign charter fishing vessels (FCVs), owned by South Korea’s Dongwon, and the company has since ordered Dongwon and PT IMS to publish notices in Jakarta newspapers with details on how the affected crew can obtain the rest of their salaries.
In September, Immigration New Zealand wrote to Sanford saying audits had found “substantial non-compliance,” and that the accountancy firm KPMG could not determine whether workers had been paid appropriately because documentation was “insufficient, missing or written in Korean.”
Last week, crew members walked off one of Sanford’s other FCVs and human rights activists said they left because their timesheets were being manipulated to reflect fewer hours than those actually worked.
Work conditions in another tuna sector have also come under fire recently, when a Finnish non-governmental organization released a report last month that accused two Thai canneries of labor rights violations, including child labour, low wages, safety issues and worker discrimination. Both Thai companies – Thai Union and Unicord – have denied the allegations.
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