Little weight given to Gloriavale documents waiving workers’ rights

The labor inspectorate admits that it gave little weight to the documents signed by Gloriavale members waiving workers’ rights.

Chief Labor Inspector Hannah Crampton appeared in the Labor Court on Monday, where she was questioned about her investigation into long working hours at the council.

Crampton found that no employment relationship existed within Gloriavale and community members were volunteers.

The court is considering whether residents of Gloriavale are classified as employees or volunteers.

A group of incumbents have filed suit against the attorney general and community leaders, arguing that they are deprived of choice.

Court attorney Robert Kirkness pointed to the ‘What We Believe’ rulebook and ‘Statement of Faith’, which Gloriavale members ‘must sign and abide by without question’.

He asked Crampton if the documents had been reviewed as part of the investigation, as well as what kind of relationship they had created.

“I don’t believe it was specifically. Not in so much detail at least.

“I don’t think there was any consideration as to whether the leaders were the employers,” Crampton said.

Crampton was also asked who had the “ultimate power and control” in Gloriavale.

“I don’t know if it’s something that was specifically concluded, but I understand where you’re coming from and you want me to say it’s the community leaders and that would be okay,” Crampton said.

Money transferred to the community

While some members of Gloriavale receive financial compensation for their work, the money is given back to the community, which the labor inspectorate also ignored.

“If it is slavery, then it would not be employment and therefore the labor inspectorate would not have jurisdiction.

“We would consider who would be best placed to handle this issue and refer to that other agency,” Crampton said.

Several times during his appearance, Crampton seemed defensive about the questions being asked.

“I understand that this is not about the investigative process, that this cross-examination was about my observations,” Crampton said.

Kirkness said his observations and report are relevant to the plaintiffs who have taken up the case.

The hearing continues.

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