THUGS THREATEN VICTIM – DROP UNION OR BE DEPORTED

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MONTY PATEL - THE ACCUSED EXPLOITER

PAID $300 A WEEK FOR 70 HOURS OVER 5 YEARS. THREATENED WHEN SEEKING BACKPAY.  

A boss who exploited a chef for over 5 years, owing tens of thousands of dollars, is accused of sending goons to threaten the victim when he asked for his money. .  

Monty Patel, the owner of the famous Wellington chain of Tulsi cafes, and the popular Masala Restaurant and Bar.  The Tulsi cafes have been voted consistently one of Wellington’s top restaurant chains. Even Lonely Planet recommends them. 

Yet at least one worker has been feeding the Wellington dining crowd on slave wages. For most of the past 5 years this chef was required to work 70 hour a week and paid only $300 a week  – an average $4.28 an hour. The employment agreements show 40 hours a week. However tax records show the chef was paid for an average of 22 hours. 

The chef (we don’t use victim’s names) was sponsored by Patel, to come to New Zealand as his employee in May 2016. For the first three months, the chef was expected, as an act of reciprocity, to work free.  Which he did.

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Over the next years the chef was required to work for 50 hours a week in the Tulsi café on Cuba Street and then an additional 20 hours in the Tulsi Miramar preparation plant. It seems the chef received no holiday pay or other minimum standards. 

In addition the chef had to pay a ‘job premium’ of close to $20,000 in several instalments. This was channelled through intermediaries in New Zealand and overseas. 

 

BOSS ADMITS TO UNPAID WAGES

After years of this abusive behaviour the victim finally had enough. After raising his grievance with Patel, the two met 3 weeks ago at the Masala Indian Café, also owned by Patel. The chef was told by Patel to leave his cell-phone and jacket outside. 

In this meeting, the chef told Patel, he was owed $128,000 in unpaid wages. He says Patel agreed he was owed money. He offered $42,000 as a full and final confidential settlement. This was unacceptable to the victim. 

 

UNION STEPS IN 

The chef quit the job, left Wellington and contacted us for help. 

I wrote to Patel outlining the claim and advising him to settle the matter quickly and fairly. We also instructed Patel and his lawyer not to contact the chef. Our experience is exploiters always approach and intimidate their victims. We overcome this, by making one condition for workers we help – that they agree to phone us immediately if they are contacted directly or indirectly by the boss. 

Patel’s lawyer responded within a day claiming there was nothing to see here. She even produced wage records. Of course it’s standard practice for exploiters to make their victims sign false records. That’s because when a boss sacks the worker, Immigration NZ issues deportation orders against the worker within 14 days. Every migrant knows this, so they do whatever do the boss says. 

Fortunately in this case, we have solid electronic evidence of the chef’s claims. 

 

THUGS STANDOVER VICTIM AT HOME

Within two days of my conversation with the lawyer, the chef is contacted by a friend, saying he was concerned and wanted to visit him to see how he was coping. The chef gave him his home address in confidence. 

A few hours later, two men arrived at the chef’s home after travelling from Wellington. The leading thug was a relation of Monty Patel and said he spoke for him. The speaker said the offer was now $80,000 conditional on the chef dropping the union from representing him. If the chef did not immediately agree, he would be deported. The chef was frightened and secretly phone us whilst they were still there. Once they realised that, they quickly departed. 

I immediately called Patel’s lawyer, who weakly claimed that she and her client knew nothing about this visit. When pushed, she disengaged, and referred me directly to her client who of course went into hiding. Interestingly, within hours of this call $5,529 was deposited into the chef’s bank account without explanation. It’s a start.

 

THE CALL FOR JUSTICE

We must and will pursue this case against Monty Patel. 

But the so-called Employment Authority system in this country is an outrage. They let exploiters cynically use lawyers to delay and frustrate justice. Their strategy is that the victim can’t afford legal costs, and get so distressed and scared they give up and drop the case – or settle for a few crumbs on the condition that agree to keep this criminal behaviour confidential. This whole rotten system is complicit in this abuse. This has allowed exploitation to boom in this country unchecked. 

To get justice for this chef, Wellingtonians must directly hold this exploiter accountable. Here’s four links you can click immediately. 

  1. Sign our petition online (prosecute criminal exploiters)
  2. Share this article  (expose crimes) 
  3. Donate (support our work)
  4. Join the UTU squad (hold a placard) 

If anyone knows anything about Monty Patel that could help us, email me at justice@utu.org.nz

 

MONTY PATEL (aka  Mahendrakumar Ghelabhai Patel)

Businesses: PARL LIMITED No.3691638 est. 2012. Operates five Wellington TUSLI CAFES and MASALA INDIAN CAFÉ & BAR in Allen St. 

Address: 15 Landsdowne Terrace, Karori.

Website:  http://tulsi.co.nz/

Phone: 021 775 001 

Email: tulsicuba@xtra.co.nz 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tulsicuba

 

Matt McCarten is National Director of UTU For Workers Union

 

31 COMMENTS

    • How about deport the bosses if they are new to NZ. Make it a criminal act that ends in deportation from NZ and huge fines.

      At the moment labour fraud is a bit like money laundering in NZ, aka pretty much not considered a real crime here and thus encouraging more people to enrich themselves doing it.

      End the Ponzi that is destroying NZ, aka visa Ponzi’s with more people coming into NZ and working under fraudulent and corrupt conditions and creating a climate for more, which seems to be condoned by both left and right.

  1. And this is the Masala that has a notice in the window proudly stating that it is not related to other Masala restaurants in Auckland caught exploiting workers in the past.
    When they’re cornered, they lie like hell and resort to intimidation. Unfortunately that Ministry for Everything has been acting as enablers for years

  2. My god, McCarten, UTU Workers Union sees my tick of approval.

    Theft.

    Greed.

    The breaking of our labour laws.

    This piracy needs to be rooted out and dealt with in the courts. I can only say these pirates are the benefactors of modern humanitarian approaches, – as it was only a few hundred years ago that such as these were summarily sentenced, and sentenced to rot in a gibbet after being hung by the neck until dead.

    • ” The breaking of our labour laws ”
      The employment relations act was an attempt by the Clark government to take the sharp edges off the evil ECA which is thirty years old this month.
      The current legislation is a cruel joke designed to give the impression that the then government would act after nine years of Bolger -Birch – Richardson- Shipley hard right prescription medicine endorsed by Winston Peters when he propped up the National party in 1996.
      A Social Democrat government with a majority should be pushing sound legislation if it was serious about what it says it stands for but this is not LABOUR.
      It is a cabal of the usual suspects in the neo liberal horror show.
      Time for a clean out and t can’t come soon enough.

  3. Update:

    This is an email I sent to the boss’s lawyer this morning.

    Dear Viv,
    I will leave the liaison with Bryce and you on this case.
    However I feel remiss on not giving Monty and you a heads up on this article published this morning on the Daily Blog website. This will be a series of ongoing actions we will undertake against Monty’s conduct.
    Obviously your client has decided to bluff his way through this matter. Given Monty’s previous experience and behaviours I presume he thinks he can kick this can along the road and we will go away. That is a serious mistake. I have already had people in Wellington contacting me this morning volunteering to help us on this matter.
    Bryce and his team will not let this go. Never will I.
    Nga Mihi
    MATT MCCARTEN
    National Director

  4. Again this type of crime (that keeps going, because the penalty is weak and gains huge), is also overloading justice resources for others.

  5. It will not happen but why when an individual is granted the right to live and trade here they lose that right if caught ripping of staff . In so many cases those abused are their own race and they use their position of power to intimidate them which can stretch back to the family in their home country..
    The public can show their disgust by not going to the restaurants owned by this family .

  6. This fella is another low life scum employer. I hope he is made to grovel for mercy before a grumpy judge with a hangover. Nice work Matt McCarten, keep it up there’s plenty more where he comes from. Also the UTU Union is a fantastic idea. I’ll be joining if possible from 1st Union.

  7. I think a picket outside the guy’s house should fix it.
    15 Landsdowne Terrace, Karori.

    I don’t live in Welly otherwise I would be there.

  8. UTU for workers Union is a campaigning union for the private sector precariat who can’t join a union – 60% of the working class. 93% of the private sector are currently not union members. A scandal.
    Frankly we need every justice activist to join.
    We have to earn the right to call ourselves unionists. $10 a month on the click at the end of this article or on our website utu.org.nz isn’t going to break anyone. But it will start to build the base that we can fight these exploiters and get a least some justice for the most vulnerable.
    We will picket this guy. What is exciting is I have already been contacted by 5 workers this morning since this article – 2 from overseas – with tales of injustice that makes me sick.
    But we really need some practical support. So sign up and volunteer. Or at least sign our online petition and/or share the article to your lists. Thanks. Forward…

  9. UTU for workers Union is a campaigning union for the private sector precariat who can’t join a union – 60% of the working class. 93% of the private sector are currently not union members. A scandal.
    Frankly we need every justice activist to join.
    We have to earn the right to call ourselves unionists. $10 a month on the click at the end of this article or on our website utu.org.nz isn’t going to break anyone. But it will start to build the base that we can fight these exploiters and get a least some justice for the most vulnerable.
    We will picket this guy. What is exciting is I have already been contacted by 5 workers this morning since this article – 2 from overseas – with tales of injustice that makes me sick.
    But we really need some practical support. So sign up and volunteer. Or at least sign our online petition and/or share the article to your lists. Thanks. Forward…

    • Good on you Matt, these criminal employers are modern day slave owners. They need exposing and all their ill gained profits from their slavery employment needs to be confiscated by the government. This is much worse than the crime of drug dealing.

      How dare they hold these workers to ransom by threatening to forego their visa documentation.

      This government department is fully aware of what is happening, but as usual sitting on their hands.

      We need some protests outside the government departments that are allowing this to happen, as well as outside Patels restaurants.

      I would be a keen supporter but I guess at 80 years of age I would be a bit of a hinderance to the organisers.

      THANKS MATT WE NEED MORE LEADERS LIKE YOU. KIA KAHA.

  10. What was that from some about the UTU approach not being needed…current unions are stretched of course–but the EA, EC and mediation are clearly set up to fail for individual cases, so direct action is needed.

  11. This is what happens when the government and reserve bank only look to reward greed. NZ is going to the dogs.

    • Yep it’s all Labours and reserve bank’s fault with these rouge business folk!
      Where’s the business round table, New Zealand Companies Register, Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
      It’s a private business, but don’t let the hatred for the Government get in the way of your far right crap.

      I suggest you wait for the right article and allow Matt the opportunity to fight the good fight, idiotic comments like yours don’t help his cause.

      • Put 2 and 2 together pal, its not hard if you open your narrow mind. This year the poor have been well and truly shafted and the greed merchant rich elites rewarded. When other greedy parasitic exploiters see this is “the kiwi way”, of course they think its fine and dandy. “Be Kind to parasites” Ardern should be thrown in the tower along with Orr, Robbo, Bascan’t, Key, Collins and any other elitist destroyer of the working class!

  12. Maama,
    Who said you get to retire from the fight when you turn 80. There is an endless line of exploitation of both migrant and non-migrant workers. We need your youth and enthusiasm. Join the battle. You can fight on-line from home 🙂

    • Matt you cheeky fulla, I pamphleted and marched No Maori No Tour, lead the Vietnam Moratorium march in little old Tokoroa, but now I teach anyone who comes into my home the evils of the “Ruling Classes”, I love what you do – kia kaha.

  13. Tory Blair is dam right in what he says, SHAFTED! French style picket and tomatoes is what’s needed for these pricks ! No I said that! Trouble is, between Covid and dealing one way China we’re out of money! Don’t belive it, you watch, you will be bailing the banks out again and they dont even have to give a dam about saving your savings if you have any left that is after losing all it’s value! Mean while I’m being fucking means tested (I’m 75 I live in a Caravan) for a medical alert my friends aren’t being means tested for theirs ,ones got a million in the bank but they didn’t get their MP to complain about Senior Services not answering their phones!

  14. Brother and Sisters, I’m dropping a note here because I know people who read or write the comments are engaged in the working class struggle for justice.
    As I write this, we are at 197 for our anti-exploitation petition. Can you get us to 200 today?
    Also, we have had 9 generous online donations from our website totalling $530 in just this week. My aim is $1000. Every dollars fuels the movement – big and small.
    If you can help, go to utu.org.nz – or click on the donate and petition above.
    Kia Kaha. Matt

  15. Monty Patel and his brother Neil Patel are both the same. Neil has many tenancy tribunal claims against him and many more articles. Monty just hides it well.

    Monty has left one of his own daughters from another marriage in India. He also came to this country by marrying an NZ citizen, then divorcing her after gaining his citizenship to bring his actual family over.
    This is not what we want in New Zealand.

    Here is a new story where Monty talks about foreign workers and how he made his fortunes, what he didn’t mention is all the workers being paid under the table, and other workers being exploited. https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/completely-rubbish-idea-labour-scale-back-immigration

    I hope you can at least save one of them from this evil man and family.

    The more Tulsi Pies & products, Monty Pies you buy from the dairy or supermarkets, and Tulsi restaurants you eat at, the more you support this behavior.

  16. 300,000 workers in this country, that is 15% of the workforce are migrant workers. Migrant workers are treated worse than second class citizens, worse than third class citizens. Because they are not citizens at all.
    The covid crisis has lifted the lid off exposing the hidden existance of this massive reserve pool of migrant labour.These workers have few human rights, let alone any union, or worker rights.
    Yet, without these workers our agriculture and health sector would collapse.
    If there is ever to be a recovery of the union movement in this country, it will begin with these workers, and the struggle for their rights.
    The struggle for the human rights and dignity of migrant workers and the recognition of the vital role migrant workers play in maintaining our society must be the top priority of the combined union movement.

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