O.P.A.C. seeks workers under the Recognized Seasonal Scheme

By Ioana Tupa'i ,

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RECRUITING FOR WORKERS: Puleia Jenkins and Nila Siaulaiga Faalilo Misi.

RECRUITING FOR WORKERS: Puleia Jenkins and Nila Siaulaiga Faalilo Misi.

Good news for those who will be part of Opotiki Packing and Cool Storage Limited (O.P.A.C.) under the Recognised Seasonal Employers Scheme (R.S.E.).

Representatives of the New Zealand-based company are in the country to recruit locals for employment.

 Orchard Operations Manager, Simon Dondi said: “Next year, the company will increase employees’ salaries from N.Z$16.50 (T$28.90) to N.Z$17 (T$29.83).”

This is part of the R.S.E. programme that was introduced by the Samoa Government in 2007.

And O.P.A.C. has been recruiting locals under the R.S.E. programme for more than 10 years. 

“We are here recruiting people to replace other employees who may return home because of issues such as behaviour or because they can no longer come to work for O.P.A.C,” Mr. Dondi said. 

“We arrived last Saturday and on Monday this week, we went to Savaii. It was a great turnout from the people living on the big island.

“We have recruited 10 women and six men.

O.P.A.C. grows, harvests, packs and stores high quality kiwifruit (green or cold). 

The company has 70 permanent staff and employs about 600 people during the harvest season, which runs from early March until the end of June.

Nila Siaulaiga Faalilo Misi from the villages of Leone and Safune, Savaii, was part of the R.S.E. programme working for O.P.A.C. in 2012.

“I am very privileged to have such an opportunity to work for O.P.A.C. in N.Z. for six years now. Since then, I am able to fulfill many needs and obligations towards my family.

“We are able to send money back home while we are working in N.Z. Our homes have been rebuilt, we have our own cars all because of our income that we earn while working for O.P.A.C.

“For the six months,I earn over N.Z$12,000 (T$20,956) and to me it is a lot of money compared to we'd earn in Samoa.”

Similar sentiments were also echoed by Puleia Jenkins who has been part of O.P.A.C. under the R.S.E. programme for 10 years now. 

“I am so honoured  to be under the Recognized Seasonal Employers Scheme programme and it has been 10 years now since I was first employed by O.P.A.C. Limited.

“If in the future I don’t get this opportunity, I would rather set up a small business such as a shop for me to earn a living rather thanto look for a job.

“But for now, I still want to be awarded with such an opportunity.”

The announcement of a salary increase for Nila and Puleia is good news because they are preparing for next year’s trip to New Zealand.

Opotiki Packing and Cool storage Limited is recruiting people from Tonga, Malayasia and Samoa.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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