Samoa PM Chastises Seasonal Workers Who Went On Strike

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Tuilaepa: Workers ‘lazy’ and ‘causing embarrassment’

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 17, 2015) – Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the seasonal workers that went on strike in Australia were not mistreated, "they are lazy." Speaking to the media on Thursday, Tuilaepa assured the country that the workers have been warned.

"We have a list of their names and the villages they are from," he said.

"If anything happens again, the Village Councils will be notified so they can make a decision on those who have wasted the opportunity given by government … causing embarrassment to the country…people might think Samoans are lazy.

According to Tuilaepa once he received the news of the workers going on strike the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister, Vaosa Epa left Samoa to resolve the problem.

However, the report he received from Vaosa, was that the workers weren’t mistreated or discriminated against, they were simply being lazy.

"They were angry because the Tongans picked 40 boxes of grapes and they only filled 20 boxes," said the Prime Minister.

"They should understand that if you get 60 boxes you get more money for your work but they wanted to stop when they had 20 boxes but they are very muscular.

"She (Vaosa) arrived there and the Tongans were working while our workers were sitting under the trees laughing. So they have been warned if this happens again, they will not get that chance anymore."

Tuilaepa also made a comparison to the seasonal workers in New Zealand who worked twice as hard. He pointed out that while the Australian seasonal workers pick grapes, the ones in New Zealand have to climb ladders to pick apples.

"Samoans are popular for the work of picking apples in New Zealand because of their hard work and at the end of the week, one man got more than $1,000 for his work."

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