Covid Australia Stay Updates: Morrison Pronounces NSW Help Bundle After 89 New Instances And One Loss of life; three falls in Victoria | Australia information

Another thread from our buddies AAP.

This is controversial, I know. But basically we shouldn’t be paying slave wages to people who do backbreaking work. Hmmm.

It would be illegal to pay $ 2 an hour to pick fruit as part of a union proposal to guarantee new rights for horticultural workers.

The full bank of the Fair Work Commission began hearing from witnesses Tuesday of a motion to force farms to pay at least the occasional minimum wage of $ 25.41 an hour.

Currently, workers can be paid based on the amount of fruit or vegetables harvested.

But the Australian Workers’ Union says the complexity means that some farm owners can take advantage of workers and pay them a few dollars an hour.

“The numbers make it easy for vulnerable workers to be cheated, ripped off and exploited,” said National Secretary Daniel Walton.

“A lower hourly wage limit would make it much easier for a worker – even a disadvantaged, vulnerable worker – to see if she’s being ripped off.”

The union presented the commission with a 2016 study published in the Journal of Industrial Relations, which suggests the average piecework worker pays $ 11.69 an hour.

Piece pickers also carried excessive loads or worked in extreme heat more often than colleagues with hourly rates.

Philip Gourlay, the AWU organizer in Mildura on the Victoria-NSW border, estimated he received 20 to 30 complaints annually about wages and “regularly during harvest times”.

While he could talk to farm owners or otherwise help the workers, the majority moved from area to area, he told the commission.

British citizen Sophie Blake told AAP that she paid about 15 cents per tree for pruning and cleaning afterwards.

“It just feels a bit like slave labor because you definitely know that you are worth more,” she said.

The National Farmers’ Federation said pieceworks provide incentives and reward productivity.

CEO Tony Mahar feared that the introduction of a minimum price would further shrink the pool of suitable workers.

The hearing runs until Friday.

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