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Every business wants its customers to feel love for their brand. According to a feel good story from Stuff, Wellington businessman Monty Patel says when he heard foodbanks were crying out for supplies, “he knew he was in a position to help”. 

No Good Act Goes Unpunished

Every business wants its customers to feel love for their brand. According to a feel good story from Stuff, Wellington businessman Monty Patel says when he heard foodbanks were crying out for supplies, “he knew he was in a position to help”. 

Stuff gushed that Patel’s donation of tonnes of brown basmati rice would feed tens of thousands of meals for hungry families. “I thought as a Kiwi this was a good opportunity to do something for people who needed help,” he said.

Patel owns the Tulsi Indian restaurant chain, the Masala restaurant and a food manufacturing business. He  said he “felt in his heart” that this was the right time to give back. 

Patel managed to get Ōhāriu MP Greg O’Connor onside. O’Conner said Patel’s generosity touched him, and motivated him to organise the distribution of the rice across the region. 

Labour MPs Kieran McAnulty and Terisa Ngobi were also enrolled along with Food Bank outlets across the region to help distribute the 40,000 food parcels. They rightly claimed that this was an example of the community coming together to the help the poor. 

Patel’s Tulsi Café and Masala Restaurant Brands couldn’t have got a better rap in local newspapers.  Even better, the Tulsi food products had started to be introduced into supermarkets across Wellington. A huge marketing success. 


This Is Where The Dream Ends

Last Friday Patel’s lawyer received a formal filing of a personal grievance against him and his company. The allegation is that Patel has been exploiting a worker employed in his Cuba Tulsi Café for several years. No doubt there are others.

The claim is for unpaid wages of $130,000. This is more than the entire donation Patel made to the lower north island food banks. The filing states that the worker was bought into the country by Patel in 2016, and worked for no wages for the first two months. For the next five years the chef was paid an average of $300 a week (That’s $4.28 an hour) and required to work up to 70 hours a week. He did not receive his holiday pay and other minimum entitlements. 

The chef was required to make several payments totalling $16,000 to agents of Patel to keep his job. Patel was the sponsor of the chef’s visa. After his daily shift in the Cuba café the worker was required to labour in Patel’s Miramar commercial kitchen for 20 hours a week for no wages. It seems Wellingtonians got to dine on Tulsi products at premium prices, made by slave labour right in the heart of their town. Ugh!

After five years of exploitation the young chef had had enough, and finally got the courage to demanded his money. Patel told him to meet him at his Masala Restaurant. The Wellington locals tell me there is a sign in the window that says this restaurant has no connection with the infamous Masala chain in Auckland that was sued for millions of dollars for exploiting their workers. Oh the irony. 

After the meeting the chef felt threatened, so didn’t return to work that day and fled Wellington. 

I always tell these bosses they have a choice of fixing it quickly. If not, we will pursue them and never stop. They are always too greedy and arrogant to take the offer seriously. They think New Zealand is a soft touch (we are). They make fortunes of their bonded workers so they think they can lawyer their way through. I told Patel not to contact the worker and just pay him. I already knew Patel had already offered the chef $42,000. 

Instead the chef was tracked down in a provincial town several hours away. Two goons representing Patel tuned up on his doorstep. They offered him $80,000 if he dropped us representing him. If the chef didn’t agree, they said Patel would have him deported. My advice to any MPs who have connections with Patel, is stay far away from this guy if you want to keep your career. 


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Call For Justice

The Wellington community has to step up. The entire cost of Patel’s ‘donation’ of tonnes of rice, was less than what the chef claims Patel stole from him. This exploited worker paid for tonnes of rice and his boss got the credit. This is a new and dark paradigm – the poor are robbed by the rich, so the rich can feed the poor. In this case the rich guy got the love and more customers, that makes him richer. Deeply, deeply wicked. 

If you have ever been to any of the five Tulsi café, eaten at the Masala in the Courtney Place area, or bought a Tulsi product at your supermarket, you need to help this worker. I have reached out the leaders of the trade unions in Wellington. They are keen to help co-ordinate  the Wellington community to win justice for this worker.  

Please help this worker by signing our petition here. Just include that you live in Wellington. We will contact you in the next week, and let you know our local plans and how you can help.   


Monty Patel marketing Tulsi products to Wellingtonians


The UTU for Workers Union is volunteer army fighting to get justice for workers who are exploited or suffer abuse. We focus on small workplaces in non-unionised sectors who can’t join a traditional union. We respond to the union clarion call across the ages “an injury to one is an injury to all.” 

Please help end workplace exploitation and abuse in our communities. Sign our petition here, donate to our campaign here, and check our Facebook page.

Matt McCarten is the National Director of UTU for Workers Union. He can be contacted at


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Do you know anything more about this guy?

MONTY PATEL (aka  Mahendrakumar Ghelabhai Patel)

PARL LIMITED No.3691638 est. 2012. Operates five Wellington TUSLI CAFES and MASALA INDIAN CAFÉ & BAR in Allen St. 

15 Landsdowne Terrace, Karori.

021 775 001


Source: Setting The Agenda – The Daily Blog

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