Orchard workers told to drink irrigation water on the job – First Union

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Orchard workers who were told to drink irrigation water win the right to filtered water on the job

 

The union representing T&G workers in Kerikeri has won drinkable water for its workers. 

 

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The victory, a small but important one, comes after the union learned workers were being made to drink irrigation water in what FIRST Union spokesperson Jared Abbott described as “worker exploitation.”

 

T&G workers engaged in harvesting spend long days out in the sun, but the company’s initial response to the union’s bargaining claim for water on the job was that workers could drink the irrigation water.

 

“Irrigation water isn’t fit for human consumption. Most people wouldn’t even give their pets irrigation water to drink, let alone their own workers,” said union spokesperson Jared Abbott.

 

“We were frankly shocked that a large corporation like this would treat their workforce so appallingly.  It’s no surprise they struggle to attract local employees,” said Abbott.

 

The company has now installed filters so that there are five locations at the site where thirsty workers can drink water.

 

T&G made $32.4 million in profit in 2016.