13 January 2024
Hundreds of Filipino workers in New Zealand who lost jobs after giant labour hire ELE group went into receivership are appealing for the Philippine government to fast-track the release of financial aid for all the affected ELE workers.
Out of 495 workers who signed up on Migrante Aotearoa google form for support, to date only 46 reported they already received financial aid from the Philippine Embassy.
The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) noted that financial assistance was immediately extended to Filipino workers who were laid off. In reality, we are hearing frustration and desperation from ELE workers and their families in the Philippines who have yet to receive financial aid.
“Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?,” (What is grass good for, if the horse is already dead?) lamented one of the ELE workers over the snail’s pace release of emergency funds.
Migrante Aotearoa New Zealand with the support of FIRST Union and Union Network of Migrants (Unemig) held a series of in-person and zoom meetings with displaced ELE workers this week to answer their queries on new job offers and visa application process, updates on claims for final pay and other entitlements, as well as check how many already received and did not receive yet the emergency financial aid from the Philippine government.
From the four ELE workers meetings this week, we got update on reported numbers of workers who received the NZ$1,050 financial aid from the Philippine Embassy as at Saturday 13 January 2023.
21 out of 97 workers in Christchurch ELE meeting – 10 January 2024
12 out of 95 workers in Auckland ELE meeting – 11 January 2024
6 out of 21 workers in Hamilton ELE meeting – 12 January 2024
7 out of 25 workers in Wellington ELE meeting – 13 January 2024
The ELE workers who were on holiday in the Philippines when the ELE group collapsed tried to apply for government support but they were told to wait for 2-3 months for OWWA assistance.
Most of the ELE workers do not want to go back to the Philippines because they know there won’t be available jobs for them. The case of the ELE workers is a big wake-up call for the Philippine government to ensure decent jobs at home and stop the labour export especially if it’s not ready to provide immediate assistance for OFWs and their families at times like this when government protection and services are much needed.
The families of ELE workers already reached out to our Migrante International home office in Manila and Migrante Central Visayas. They are hopeful that the Department of Migrant Workers and Department of Foreign Affairs will fast-track the release of emergency funds for the affected OFWs and their families. ###