Govt is not doing justice to small businesses: Natu Rama, President Indian Social and Cultural Club

- the veteran community leader responds to ERA's recent decision ordering him to pay $43,000 to a migrant worker from India

The case in question is the last month order by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) awarding Kapilaben Patel, a migrant worker from Gujarat, India, $31,413.19 for unpaid wages, working on public holidays, and holiday pay; and a further $11,400 as reimbursement of the money paid in contravention of 12(A) of the Wages Protection Act.

The order was passed against Lincoln's Indian restaurant Curry Pot, where she worked between August 2011 and July 2014. In her order dated August 23, 2016, Helen Doyle, a member of ERA, also noted that Natu Rama, the current owner of the restaurant, has agreed to reimburse a further $750 to Kapilaben Patel, though no formal order was made in this regard.

Talking to The Migrant Times on the judgement, Natu Rama, who is also the current President of the Christchurch-based Indian Social and Cultural Club (ISCC) said, ”Kapilaben has falsified the documents she showed in front of the ERA, which detailed her work hours. In fact, she had also falsified the documents when she applied for work at Curry Pot. All the qualifications mentioned in her resume are incorrect. And this can be verified by a third party.”

“While it's true that co-ethnic exploitation of migrants do take place, this case is certainly not one of those. In my opinion, the government bodies such as ERA are not doing justice to small businesses by passing judgements without substantial proofs. That's why we have decided to approach the Employment Court against the ERA ruling soon,” Rama noted announcing his next course of action.

In response to the above story, The Migrant Times has received the following reply from Kapilaben Patel's lawyer, Mohammed Shahadat from Kiwi Immigration Consultants Ltd. This reply will also be published in The Migrant Times' next print issue that comes out on October 19th.



The Migrant Times published an article on the Front Page of this news paper in Issue 9 on the 5th of October which was headed “Govt is not doing justice to small businesses:” Your paper reported a number of comments made by Natu Rama the director of Curry Pot on Lincoln against whose Company the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had made orders to pay a migrant worker Kapilaben Patel the sum of approximately $43,000.

Mohammed Shahadat the advocate for Kapilaben Patel said that the comment by Natu Rama that “Kapilaben Patel has falsified the documents she showed in front of the ERA which detailed her work hours” and the comment that “she had also falsified the documents when she applied for work at Curry Pot” were not true as there is nothing in the ERA decision which alludes to these comments.

These comments are highly defamatory of Kapilaben Patel and Kapilaben is taking legal advice with a view to taking the matter further. Mr Rama went on to say that he was appealing the decision of ERA to the Employment Court. The Employment Court has confirmed that no appeal has been lodged with them.

Mohammed Shahadat

Advocate for Kapilaben Patel